What is my vocation? Am I trying to hard?


#1

I can’t figure out what my vocation is. While I was a teenager, I attended a church retreat at my church (Catholic Church) and the preacher in charge of the retreat was so good that I decided that I wanted to be a preacher too (but I never read the bible! :blush:). I played the guitar in a church choir and at one point, I was playing at four masses on Sundays. I felt good but I never knew anything about my faith or what happened during mass. I then graduated from high school and went to the military. While in the military I left my faith and even blamed God for every little thing that happened to me.

I’m 34 years old and recently I realized all that God has done for me and I started going back to church and reading the bible. I have now read the bible several times and have also read several Catholic commentaries (books) on the bible. I just ordered the Navarre Bible (Pentateuch) and plan on reading the whole series on the Old Testament and New Testament. I also regularly attend Hoy mass on Sundays and go to confession at least once every 3 months (for 2 years now).

The more I read the bible, the more I want to read it and learn and I have even thought about earning a Theology degree. I believe in God, I know all what HE has done for me, BUT… for some reason, I can’t feel His presence in me. Maybe I’m trying to hard??? Maybe I’m reading too much and listening to bible commentaries on my iPhone??? When I wake up I pray and when I go to bed I pray, but I still don’t feel Him in me. I’ve even started praying the Rosary every now and then, and I don’t feel nothing. I listen to some conversion stories from friends and I feel envy because I want to feel the same and nothing. What’s wrong with me???

Sometimes while reading the bible, I even question it. Was Matthew really saying the truth about the fulfillment of the Old Testament in the New Testament or was he only making his story fit the Old Testament? I feel that now that I’m reading the Bible, instead of getting closer to God, I’m getting away from him. I feel that I’m getting worse at being a husband, father, son, brother, friend, now that I’m reading the bible. How can I increase my faith and be a better person? Please pray for me.


#2

Oh my dear brother in Christ be well. I feel as if God has called me to this moment. My dear brother, put down all your scholarly study and begin to spend time contemplating God. Meditate upon his truths. Listen intently for the voice of the Holy Spirit. I point you to the great saints of my order: St. Teresa of Avila, St. John of The Cross, St. Therese of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face. We must, as Christians, spend much time in contemplative prayer so that we can hear the voice of the Holy Spirit. If all you want to do is read and learn about the Bible them go and be a Protestant, but if you want to commune with the Living God go and recieve the Sacraments, study the lives of the saints, pray with devotion and purpose, obtain a spiritual director, aspire to live a life worthy of veneration, and devote yourself to Our Lady of Mt. Carmel and the Immaculate Heart of Mary. I will give you now a devotion I was given in a vision. It is the Rosarian Litany of The Divine Voice of Christ - for those who desire, above all else, to hear the perfect voice of Christ. It is done around an ordinary rosary but is much simpler and focused. Contact me if you would like to know it for it has great favor with God. But also, contemplate the wounds of Christ. Just think about them. Sometimes, when you pray, just think about different aspects of Christ. Contemplate the care of God over your life and the work of the Holy Spirit in your life. The Rosary is the best way to develop the ability to contemplate God and hear the Holy Spirit speak to you because the words of the prayer arrest our “self” and our inner souls contemplates the mysteries, thereby living out the Gospels yourself in a way. And if being a good husband and father is important to you then make St. Joseph your patron and ask his intercession for such.

Go and be blessed in God, you have all that you need -

Zachary


#3

Reading and studying is fine. But lost in the daily struggles of life is the answer to your question. And that answer is not dependent on your feelings. Feelings can be deceptive.
So here are some basic questions:

  1. Have you ever met someone you wanted to marry yet?
  2. Have you ever just visited a Monastery or discussed the priesthood with your Priest or Spiritual Director? (If not give this a try)
  3. Have you ever been stopped dead in tracks from going a certain direction only to be pulled in another? If so where did you land up? (Example: I wanted to join the Navy and failed the physical. STOPPED COLD!!! I landed up working for a religious order that cared for the elderly. If you have experienced something like this give some thought to where you landed up and what you learned as a result.
  4. Is there a repeating pattern in your life? You know School/Job and you land up hating the job you thought you would really like…then more school and a job you took out of desperation but really loved, or illness put everything on hold.

Review some of your past and look for some patterns. You may just find a light in the darkness. God talks to us all the time, sometimes we just don’t get it because we are too busy planning what we want to be and do, versus accepting what is put on our plate.


#4

Zachary (Vianneyizer), Thanks for your response. You are right, I’m focusing too much on studying and not on meditating. I pray but I don’t really pray from the heart. Sometimes I noticed that instead of praying I’m thinking about something else. For some reason I can’t concentrate. I talked to a spiritual director (a deacon), I told him all my troubles and he told that he thinks that maybe God has a special plan for me and that’s why bad spirits are always distracting me, to deviate me from God’s plan. I don’t know if that’s true but it made me feel good. Please send me your Rosarian Litany of the Divine Voice.


#5

Thanks for your reply. Number 1 and number 2 on your list are out of the question, I’ve been married for 12 years! :slight_smile: #3 has happened to me a lot of times. After high school I went to college for a year and I did not do any good. As soon as my first year ended, I was contacted by an Army recruiter. Coincidence??? Never thought about joining the Army, so I did it. After 6 years in the military, I wanted to go back home but I was scared to get out, not knowing what kind of job I was going to find, because I did not had a college degree. So I decided to re-enlist and to make a career in the Army. Well, months before being able to re-enlist, I took the Physical Fitness test and passed without a problem, but I did not meet the weight requirements, so I was told I could not re-enlist until I passed the weight requirements. This rarely happened to anyone in the Army (in 2005). I tried my best, exercised twice a day, watched what I ate but when I got weighed and got my body fat tested, I failed by 1% body fat and was denied re-enlistment.

Now that I’m out, I found a better job with Customs and Border Protection and make way more than when I was in the Army, not only that, but I’m with all my family (parents, siblings, wife and daughter!!!) Was this a coincidence???

God works in mysterious ways, sometimes I think that HE is wrong and I complain, but usually everything that has happened to me has had a purpose in my life.


#6

You might find it beneficial to add some catechetical and devotional works to your spiritual reading regimen.


#7

Dear Seeker,
I hate to tell you this but you already have found your spiritual vocation in life–as a householder! As a husband and father your path is every bit as sacred a journey to God as that of the religious life. God is as completely present in your intimate relationships and in your job as he would be in the priesthood. That’s because the essence of God doesn’t reside in external circumstances, but rather, in the cave of your own heart. You may learn about God through your scriptural reading, but you will only find Him when your attention resides in the heart because God is not a mental experience. Your quest for connection with God can be found by simply treating each and every common ordinary experience in your life as a sacramental, consecrated offering of love to the Divine. Pay attention to the present moment (the only moment in which you can find God) by directing your attention to flow outward from your heart instead of from your mind thus short-circuiting your mind’s tendency to think and judge (which creates separation instead of union), and by anchoring yourself in the present moment through the kinesthetic feeling of your body, particularly through paying attention to the pulsation of your breath and how relaxed or tensely it is felt in the body. The more you mentally perseverate about how and where to find God, the more you are continually denying yourself the awareness of Him right where you are, right at the moment you are in. If you begin to *act *the way you would if you felt as though God was already expressing Himself through you AS you, there He will be!

 I have found in my own life that the best way for me to recognize the Presence of God all around me is to offer prayers of gratitude (as opposed to prayers of supplication which indicate a feeling of lack).  Gratitude opens the heart to acceptance and surrender and fills one's life with wonder at the miracle of Love that perfuses the simplest of things.  In the single wholeness that is God (which you can come to experience the more you practice looking at Life as 'one whole thing' instead of disparate elements between self and object), NOTHING is left out (including YOU!!!); everything is felt in the heart to be a manifestation of God's creative impulse born of bliss-permeated love, and is not SEPARATE from God Himself.  Creator and created are One.

 When one initially starts out on a spiritual journey it is very common for all sorts of thoughts and feelings to arise while praying or meditating.  Having a busy mind is not a hindrance--know that your inner confusion and your mental regressions into thought while praying are part of the process of quieting the mind that everyone goes through.  Many times inner distractions are energetic past impressions making their way into the conscious mind to be re-experienced and released.  (Notice I say the *energy* of the impressions and NOT the actual remembrance of every detail of a past occurrence.  Just keep your attention focused on how a distraction makes your body *feel* and not how it makes your mind *think*.)  This is perhaps why you are feeling that you are becoming worse instead of better in your relationships with others for having read the Bible. Scriptures talk about the necessity of becoming an empty vessel before one can be filled with the innate awareness of God.  Meditation is like spiritual therapy at first; when the dross of past impressions is finally brought to consciousness and released and the mind is finally emptied, then one is able to meditate from the heart with relative equanimity and peace. The time it takes to reach a state of receptive emptiness will vary from person to person, depending on how many emotional, psychological and physical traumas you have experienced in your life that need to be brought to the surface and dissolved, and how willing you are to come back to the present moment every time you notice that your thoughts have followed a wild goose chase (so you don't create more impressions!).  It took me a full three years of regular meditation before my mind became quiet enough to allow me to drop my attention into my heart and rest in silence.  You are making GREAT progress as evidenced by the disquieting effects that your seeking is causing in your life.  Your life is being shaken out and re-ordered,* just *as you are,* where *you are.  You do not need to look for 'something else', 'somewhere else'.  Where you are is where you are meant to be for your own soul's lessons, by the curriculum you have chosen through your karmic actions.  With this awareness, any place within you that is feeling dissatisfaction and/or resistance is a fertile topic for contemplation of how your ego is using these two defense mechanisms to keep you trapped in the belief that you must have life appear a certain way in order to feel that your ego has any sort of control over Life as an Absolute.  Remember, the spiritual journey is not about fortifying your ego; it's about seeing through the illusion that you are separate from the wholeness that is God.  At the deepest core of your being, you are, and always have been, the unchangeable essence of That which was never born and will never die, because you are an indivisible wave of God's own oceanic Love.  If you're feeling dissatisfied, know that you're still looking 'out there' for what can only be found inside.  With conscious moment-by-moment awareness, you can be a monk in the world because your *LIFE *is your monastery and your own heart is your inner sanctum for worship!  :heart:

#8

My Brother in Christ,

I can’t add too much more to what great things have already been said here, but God is all around you. Sometime we want God right in our face so we know it is Him, but He is many times very subtle, but we must listen.

For example, back in March of 2000, I almost died at the age of 30. I had a brain hemorrhage, and by all medical accounts, I should be dead right now. Thankfully, my wife is of great faith and refused to just let the doctors give up. She begged them to do the surgery and told them that she believes in miracles and God would take care of me but that they needed them, the doctors to intercede and perform the surgery with the gifts that He had given them.

Anyhow, I will never forget the day that I was sent home and how the doctor told me that he didn’t have any medical explanation on how I made such a good recovery and that by my wife’s incredible faith in God, that is the only way he could explain it.

Later on, I was at home trying to recover and it was tough. I was scared, stressed, and very sick still. I could not do much but I remember asking God to please send me a sign that all was going to be okay. You see, in the hospital, I was at peace and I knew He would never let anything bad happen to me, but after coming home I somehow lost that peace. I recalled lying there on the bed (that’s about all I could do since I was physically exhausted and even walking around was very tiring at that time), and just closing my eyes willing God to come to me… and guess what? I heard this little bird chirping outside. And guess what else? I heard these children a few houses down from me laughing! And then I realized something… the little bird chirping and the little children laughing and playing were all the voice of God telling me that YES everything was going to be okay.

I never forget that day and anytime I am having a bad day I just sit quiet, close my eyes and listen. He is everywhere and sometimes we just have to sit still and hear Him. He wants you to hear Him brother, but it is up to us to sit still and listen. It is hard at times to see him or hear him through all the noise in our lives.

You can go anywhere and do this… a park, the woods, the beach, your front porch… just sit and ask God to come sit with you, and He will… He loves you.

God bless…
John


#9

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