What if you miss your vocation?


#1

What if you discerned the religious life but let yourself drift away? I was getting very serious about becoming a nun, but I already had a boyfriend and I got confused about which way God was calling me. I ended up getting married. On my wedding day, I did feel at peace, I felt happy and I felt like this was right for me. But then, I read somewhere that God invites all people to religious life and that you can say no but you shouldn’t. This is very unsettling to me. Plus, I do I do feel this ache in my chest sometimes and I feel regret. I really identify with Zelie Martin who also spoke of crying over the fact that she wasn’t able to become a nun, but unlike Zelie who had prohibitive health problems and who had God specifically point out her future spouse, I feel like I had much less legitimate reasons for turning away from religious life. It’s not that I’m unhappy all the time, I only feel that way sometimes.

Also, I heard it said somewhere that people are able to miss their vocation in life, and if they do miss it, they will never live up to the potential that they were created for. I’m very scared that this means that I messed up by getting married and that now I’m only operating at like 70% or something, that’s how it makes me feel. Is God dissatisfied with me because I didn’t choose the greater part? I know He loves me always, but I feel like maybe I messed up and disappointed Him and now there’s no way for me to make it right?

Again, I’m not unhappy overall, I love my husband, he’s a good man, I’m looking forward to having children and raising them. I’m looking to Zelie Martin as my example. I’m just having trouble putting my disappointment to rest, like I settled for second best and now I’m stuck with it? I mean, St. Faustina writes that the souls of the religious are like the moon compared to the stars. Did I miss my chance to shine like the moon because I failed to become a nun?

Edit: It’s been a while since I’ve been to these forums and I was looking over some old posts. Someone gave me a rather eloquent reply to at least part of this question before here: forums.catholic.com/showpost.php?p=8091607&postcount=33

But I still can’t shake that feeling of inferiority/lost opportunity.


#2

Probably God is sovereign over our decisions. I can't help but wonder reading your post, if there are nuns who sometimes wonder if they chose wrong and should've gotten married and had kids. Actually religious life , while it may have been an option for you, isn't really opened to everyone. There are many requirements involved . Sometimes people through no fault of their own can't meet those. I don't believe God gives second best to people wanting to glorify Him to the best of their ability.

I don't really know the answer, but it's encouraging how you want to please God. I believe He will use you greatly in your present state. God bless you.


#3

God can make something good out of worst situations if we are open to Him. I'm not saying that you getting married was a bad decision, but even if you missed your vocation He can still bring you close and have you grow in holiness.

I wonder about the same thing about myself. When I was a teenager I was never interested in having a boyfriend. I loved going to church. I kinda maybe felt a little tug on my heart but my family kept repeating that only crazy people become religious, that I never even dared to speak to somebody about this. (I was a convert and some of my family members thought that even that was extreme, so pre-emptively warned me about nuns:rolleyes: So I just assumed that I was supposed to get married and ignored the tug on my heart. I love my children but there is something in me that still wonders.


#4

Thanks for your replies. I’ve been thinking, that I should trust God that no matter what He will raise me up if I abandon myself to him. It’s probably silly to worry at this point how much my soul will be able to shine. If I give myself over to God then it’ll shine as much as he wants it to shine. Like St. Therese said, not everyone is a lily or a rose, some people are daisies. Well, maybe I am a blade of grass and should be okay with being such. As long as I’m God’s blade of grass how can I complain?


#5

Find and talk to a spiritual director. They can help you.Don't be afraid of opening up to them and reveal everything you are feeling.You owe it to yourself for peace mind and body! Blessings and good luck!


#6

[quote="narrowgatequest, post:4, topic:302756"]
Well, maybe I am a blade of grass and should be okay with being such. As long as I'm God's blade of grass how can I complain?

[/quote]

I think that trusting Him is key. He knows what is going on, even when we don't. Just thank Him for all the blessings in your life and ask for graces to be able to live your vocation to the best of your ability. I think this is the best we can ever do.


#7

I dont think one can ever ‘miss one’s vocation’. A vocation and call is only ever an invitation, not a Divine Command. The Loving Will of God is always calling us and with us even if for whatever reason we decline His Invitation in a certain direction (and not a thing to be done lightly at all - with His Invitation comes all the Graces necessary to fulfill that call to holiness…if one accepts).
If one declines, for whatever reason, His Initial Invitation, there is always another, a new call always with us. God is not a mean and vindictive Lord - His Constant Will is our holiness and He would never deny any person, no matter what, all that is necessary. Our consistent call and vocation is to holiness and His call or vocation comes always with that guarantee of all the Graces necessary and no matter in what lifestyle we follow, whatever state in life. And happiness and fulfillment is in His Divine Will.


#8

[quote="narrowgatequest, post:4, topic:302756"]
Thanks for your replies. I've been thinking, that I should trust God that no matter what He will raise me up if I abandon myself to him. It's probably silly to worry at this point how much my soul will be able to shine. If I give myself over to God then it'll shine as much as he wants it to shine. Like St. Therese said, not everyone is a lily or a rose, some people are daisies. Well, maybe I am a blade of grass and should be okay with being such. As long as I'm God's blade of grass how can I complain?

[/quote]

Spot on and expressed with much humility. St Teresa of Avila said: "Humility, my daughers, humility will win the King every time!"


#9

I can very much relate to how you are feeling right now, because I was in the same boat a while ago. Do not worry about your vocation to marriage being second best. God allowed you to find a husband, didn't he? Did you go through a marriage prep class beforehand? If you got through the marriage prep and are happy most of the time, that is a sign that you are called to marriage. If you were not called to marriage, you would not be married in the Church now. God would have put up roadblocks. That is my opinion. The best vocation for each person is the vocation that God is calling him or her to. So if God called you to marriage, you will need to be holy in that vocation. God does not call most people to the religious life. However, there are movements that allow you to consecrate your life to God as a married person. Perhaps you are called to one of these. Don't get discouraged and worry that you did not make the right decision by getting married. There are no second best people in God's kingdom as long as they are following God's will. God calls everyone to holiness, not just religious.


#10

First of all: Thinking about this now is probably a temptation. Why would you? Whatever vocation God might have given you in the past, it is not yours anymore. Your vocation now is to be a good wife, how wonderful!

BUT I have to say that I was also taught the same: If you do not follow you calling you will never live up to your full potential. Therefore the wisest thing to do is to try religious life if such thoughts keeps coming back to you. If it turns out it was not for you, then at least you will always know!


#11

[quote="Nils, post:10, topic:302756"]
First of all: Thinking about this now is probably a temptation. Why would you? Whatever vocation God might have given you in the past, it is not yours anymore. Your vocation now is to be a good wife, how wonderful!

BUT I have to say that I was also taught the same: If you do not follow you calling you will never live up to your full potential. Therefore the wisest thing to do is to try religious life if such thoughts keeps coming back to you. If it turns out it was not for you, then at least you will always know!

[/quote]

What do you mean try religious life? I thought the OP is already married?


#12

[quote="narrowgatequest, post:1, topic:302756"]
What if you discerned the religious life but let yourself drift away? I was getting very serious about becoming a nun, but I already had a boyfriend and I got confused about which way God was calling me. I ended up getting married. On my wedding day, I did feel at peace, I felt happy and I felt like this was right for me. But then, I read somewhere that God invites all people to religious life and that you can say no but you shouldn't. This is very unsettling to me. Plus, I do I do feel this ache in my chest sometimes and I feel regret. I really identify with Zelie Martin who also spoke of crying over the fact that she wasn't able to become a nun, but unlike Zelie who had prohibitive health problems and who had God specifically point out her future spouse, I feel like I had much less legitimate reasons for turning away from religious life. It's not that I'm unhappy all the time, I only feel that way sometimes.

Also, I heard it said somewhere that people are able to miss their vocation in life, and if they do miss it, they will never live up to the potential that they were created for. I'm very scared that this means that I messed up by getting married and that now I'm only operating at like 70% or something, that's how it makes me feel. Is God dissatisfied with me because I didn't choose the greater part? I know He loves me always, but I feel like maybe I messed up and disappointed Him and now there's no way for me to make it right?

Again, I'm not unhappy overall, I love my husband, he's a good man, I'm looking forward to having children and raising them. I'm looking to Zelie Martin as my example. I'm just having trouble putting my disappointment to rest, like I settled for second best and now I'm stuck with it? I mean, St. Faustina writes that the souls of the religious are like the moon compared to the stars. Did I miss my chance to shine like the moon because I failed to become a nun?

Edit: It's been a while since I've been to these forums and I was looking over some old posts. Someone gave me a rather eloquent reply to at least part of this question before here: forums.catholic.com/showpost.php?p=8091607&postcount=33

But I still can't shake that feeling of inferiority/lost opportunity.

[/quote]

I can relate to what you have written so very much.

My two cents: God permits. Don't drive yourself crazy with regrets and "what ifs". What is done is done. Be the best wife you can be. You've chosen a good patroness.


#13

Thank you, everyone for your replies!

[quote="TiggerS, post:7, topic:302756"]
I dont think one can ever 'miss one's vocation'. A vocation and call is only ever an invitation, not a Divine Command. The Loving Will of God is always calling us and with us even if for whatever reason we decline His Invitation in a certain direction (and not a thing to be done lightly at all - with His Invitation comes all the Graces necessary to fulfill that call to holiness.......if one accepts).
If one declines, for whatever reason, His Initial Invitation, there is always another, a new call always with us. God is not a mean and vindictive Lord - His Constant Will is our holiness and He would never deny any person, no matter what, all that is necessary. Our consistent call and vocation is to holiness and His call or vocation comes always with that guarantee of all the Graces necessary and no matter in what lifestyle we follow, whatever state in life. And happiness and fulfillment is in His Divine Will.

[/quote]

Thanks, I found this really helpful. This makes more sense to me than the "you'll never live up to your full potential if you miss your vocation", rather, God never writes us off as failures, always has another road for us to take to go to Him. There's no guarantee that it's not a more difficult road, but like you said, God will provide the graces if you accept the road. And I fully intend to accept it!


#14

[quote="Mousey2901, post:11, topic:302756"]
What do you mean try religious life? I thought the OP is already married?

[/quote]

I meant that SHE should stop thinking about this! Her vocation is marriage, she can not do anything else unless her husband dies.
'
However, for other people in a situation similar to where she used to be, they should try the religious life first so that they do not miss out on what they are created for... Many will find out that they are called to marriage after all, but some will not!


#15

[quote="narrowgatequest, post:13, topic:302756"]
Thank you, everyone for your replies!

Thanks, I found this really helpful. This makes more sense to me than the "you'll never live up to your full potential if you miss your vocation", rather, God never writes us off as failures, always has another road for us to take to go to Him. There's no guarantee that it's not a more difficult road, but like you said, God will provide the graces if you accept the road. And I fully intend to accept it!

[/quote]

:thumbsup:
"You'll never live up to your full potential if you miss your vocation" contradicts our Catholic Theology making God's Vocation and Call in life something of a command, since if one does not obey, one is going to miss out on one's potential - the 'invitation' has the nature of command since there is a penalty or punishment attached if one does not take up the invitation.

We know that God is continually calling every single person to holiness. Since holliness is our highest potential absolutely, complete fulfillment in every way, along withPeace and Joy, thus contentment, is part and parcel of holiness per se - even if it is a lifetime of suffering. Holiness is the complete fulfillment of our humanity. It is that for which we are created. It therefore follows that if one is going to miss out on one's full potential by not taking up God's Invitation, then He is no longer calling one to the fullness of life which is holiness. This completely contradicts our theology and Catholic Teaching and very important theology and teaching.
Again, I would stress that an Invitation from The Lord is not to be taken lightly and I think that probably it is rare to do so. There are three basic indications of a call and vocation from God:

[LIST=1]
*]Attraction to the life (speaks for itself)
*]Ability to lead the life (qualities necessary to live the life)
*]Acceptance into the life (with religious life this comes with Final Profession, with marriage it is a valid Marriage; with the priesthood, it is ordination and with the lay celibate state, it is a whole subject of its own. The lay celibate state is mentioned in "Vita Consecrata" ("The Consecrated Life") by Pope John Paul II. It is interesting that Bl John Paul II did mention it and 'part and parcel' or directly linked with other forms of consecrated life and in the same paragraph.
[/LIST]An attraction to a certain way of life is hardly going to be freely rejected, although not impossible. If at the time of marriage, I am not as attracted to religious life as I am to marriage, then clearly my primary attraction is to marriage - meaning I have the first indication of a vocation to marriage. It would be most wise in prudence however to seek spiritual direction since I have a dual attraction while both are not of the same degree.
It is not the person responsible for the attractions, rather it is The Lord. "All is Grace' (St Therese of Lisieux)

Pope Benedict has indicated quite strongly not long ago that spiritual direction is not only for priests, religious and nuns but is eqally also for the laity - for the faithful baptized who take their baptism and thus their first call and vocation seriously. We are not baptized by an accident of fate or similar such as our parent's choice when we were babies etc. We are baptized because The Lord has ordained we be baptized and thus calling us to holiness in The Catholic Church - i.e to The Kingdom, Himself and His Gospel.

Not at all unusual for a married person to have a desire re religious life or the priesthood. Just as it is not at all unusual for a religious, nun or priest to have a desire re marriage.
Most often these are just passing trials and sufferings - and the may be long ones.

The Cross can and does, will, occur in all vocations to some degree - and to embrace The Cross (i.e. united to Jesus) and as redemptive for the whole of mankind including oneself, is the highest of calls within any vocation. "Take up your cross and follow me" and the following of Jesus and His Cross is a road or path to Calvary. And St Paul in his own sufferings is absolutely eloquent and gifted on this subject - and also on suffering as redemptive united to Jesus.

With marriage, with the death of one's husband or wife, one is then free to consider religious life or the priesthood, or even to remarry. It is The Lord who is the Master of life and of death and He has taken one's marital partner to Himself, leaving the other partner still living free to enter another vocation at His Invitation - and along with the other states in life, widowhood itself is a recognized state in life by The Church.

Also, in the case of annulmentof marriage by The Church, both partners are then free in the same way.

Nothing occurs outside of God's Will, either His Direct or His Permissive Will. And another whole subject of its own. The theology of the Direct and Permissive Will of God is clearly explained in the CCC (Catholic Catechism)

Note: I can dig out all references details of everything above if anyone wants them.


#16

The vocation (call in life) for which we are created is holiness. A "vocation or call from The Lord" during our earthly life is an i*nvitation* only to achieve that holiness in a certain way, in a certain lifesyle and state in life. It is not a command while the call to holiness is a command, not an invitation. Nor is any person at all created say for religious life, rather for holiness no matter which state in life they choose in free will to embrace. The call, and Graces to achieve holiness never changes and is fixed for one's whole life and The Lord is eternally The Faithful One Without Change, and no matter which state in life one chooses.

An invitation to religious life can and may change to a different invitation, as for example if the person for any reason at all declines that invitation to religious life and follows another vocation. In this other vocation, The Lord will grant all the Graces necessary for holiness.

What in fact has happened, is that The Lord has granted an attraction to religious life and also to another state in life.

However, if a person is undecided about their state in life and they have a sort of attraction to religious life and the qualities necessary to live the religious life, then to my mind, it should be quite seriously considered. After all, an invitation from The Lord is a great honor no matter the content of that invitation. And spiritual direction would be highly recommended.

Religious life is THE STATE of perfection, while we are all called to perfection or holiness and the WAY of perfection, or the road TO perfection. This perfection is probably most likely to be achieved in THE state of perfection (religious life), but not of necessity, not only in THE state of perfection or religious life. We have nuns and religious who are not following the way of perfection though they are in the state of perfection (i.e not living up to their vocation). Just as we have lay people and saints too who were not/are not in the state of perfection (religious life) but were/are on the way or road to perfection.

Holiness in all its fullness is not confined to religious life.

It is not entering religious or monastic life and perhaps wearing a religious habit (though not an absolute necessity always in religious life) that makes for the state of perfection of religious life. What makes a religious life is the vowing and living out in its fulness the three vows of Poverty, Chastity and Obedience and in a radical manner - thus following strictly the path of Jesus - and following the way of perfection. This is THE state of perfection. However, one does not have to enter religious or monastic life to live quite radically poverty, chastity and obedience and follow thus the way of perfection.

I do think, however, that radical poverty, chastity and obedience is probably more supported in every way in religious or monastic life. All the conditions, structure etc in religious or monastic life create a state and way of perfection. Thus the individual is in the state of perfection and it is their choice entirely whether they then follow the way of perfection through their vows to radical poverty, chastity and obedience in every way.


#17

I have a similar feeling after failing to cooperate with God over the course of years........ I think its good to know that God's will for our lives is not powerless in the face of what we have done. Our whole personality, our whole being, is in the hands of God--like clay in the hands of a potter... every day of our lives. when we decided to will God's will, and follow God's lead--he can more than make up for anything that we may have done. Guilt over the past (once acknowedged) is only an obstacle to this Present fulfillment of God's life within us.

For God, the present, the state of our souls in relation to him in the present, is all that exists.


#18

Also, I heard it said somewhere that people are able to miss their vocation in life, and if they do miss it, they will never live up to the potential that they were created for. I'm very scared that this means that I messed up by getting married and that now I'm only operating at like 70% or something, that's how it makes me feel.

You should see your role as a spouse /mother as your new vocation ,God is not disappointed in you because of the choices you made . So OK you think you've missed you real calling by becoming a nun or joining any holy order .
But marriages is equally important in the church ,it one of our 7 sacraments .
However you can still fulfill you desire to serve our God with all you have ..look at all the saints who were mother and wives they did it so can you .
look in who company you sit .
Our Lady (our blessed mother Mary)
St. Monica (mother of St. Augustine )
St Elizabeth, wife of Zachary and mother of John the Baptist
St Anne (mother to our blessed mother Mary)

All these women like you were married ,but yet still lived the lives of holy women devoted to our Lord God .

All you have to do is accept your new role in the pool vocation we have .:thumbsup:


#19

A vocation is only ever an invitation from God - not a Divine Command. Hence, if for whatever reason one does not take up God's Invitation, nothing is lost. For loss spiritually can only ever come about through sin. God loves eveyr last one of us and no matter our spiritual status and loves each one of us to absolute distraction and loves all equally, be they the greatest saint or the greatest sinner. What is different is the love returned by the saint and the sinner - and the more we love The Lord, the more He is able to accomplish in us and through us, the more Present He can be to us.

Hence whoever has said that if one does not take up God's Invitation will never fulfill their true/full potential is absolutely theologically inaccurate in that statement and in a quite major way. Our true and full potential is holiness and I underscore what Stella101 has said in repy:thumbsup: Fulfillment on the strictly human level is only a very pale shadow and quite distant reflection of that fulfillment spiritually that is holiness. In other words, human fulfillment is not true and full fulfillment at all.


#20

Go to Adoration :slight_smile: God will give you the grace to get through this.
From the sounds of it, it seems like God has been calling you to marriage afterall because you are at peace. Don’t let your mind wander about what should have been, but think about what is.


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