[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!
"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:
*]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.