What makes a vocation your vocation?


#1

This is a self-explanatory thread... how do you know that something is your vocation and not just your desires etc.?


#2

[quote="MonjaFutura, post:1, topic:276721"]
This is a self-explanatory thread... how do you know that something is your vocation and not just your desires etc.?

[/quote]

I suspect it's a bit different for everyone. For me, I always knew - from the time I was nine years old (I have a clear memory of the moment) - what God wanted me to do.

I wish I could tell you that it happened slowly after years of careful discernment and long hours of prayer and meditation. But it didn't. I fought it. I ignored it and tried to do things my way. But I always knew I was making a colossal mistake until I just accepted that God needed me where He needed me and went with it.

That was more than 40 years ago, and my conviction that I'm in the right vocation is still with me.

Luna


#3

[quote="MonjaFutura, post:1, topic:276721"]
This is a self-explanatory thread... how do you know that something is your vocation and not just your desires etc.?

[/quote]

There are, generally speaking, three signs of a vocation:

Attraction to the life
Ability to lead the life
Acceptance into the life

It is The Lord (not the person) who provides the attraction, the ability and the acceptance. Thus, if a person is attracted to a vocation and has the ability to live out that vocation and if the particular way of life accepts the person into that way of life, then it can be a sign that God is extending an invitation - not a Divine Command.


#4

Be the above as it may as generally speaking where signs of vocation are concerned, many of our saints had problems with 2 and 3 and overcame them. Also, I have known two religious who initially had no attraction to religious life. The attraction gradually evolved over a period of time and a journey into religious life.

We can’t put God into a straightjacket and binding with hard and fast rules that will not vary in some instances. The best way to discern one’s vocation if there are any doubts is through spiritual direction.


#5

If it lasts, I think. If it's just a whim, it'll pass away after a while.


#6

You can feel it in your bones. The more your research the subject the more it feels like it is just for you. There will always be doubts, feeling not worthy and nervous are normal. It should fit like a comfortable shoe.

If you start looking into a vocation and their are more red-flags then green flags then it may not be for you.

If you are looking into a vocation and think things like I like this, this, this, and this but I hate this, this, and this, then it may not be for you.

If you start looking into a vocation and think more about how you can change the order, group, priesthood, etc. instead of how it can change you, then it may not be for you.

Pray, discern, talk to a formation director/expert of whatever you are looking at. Be open to where God is calling you. Sometimes the answer will be no, sometimes the answer will be not yet. Sometimes the answer will be something totally different from what you originally expected. Sometimes the answer will be yes.


#7

I still discern about my vocation, when i decide one thing, it goes the other way, and when I decide the other way, it goes to one thing :shrug:


#8

It seems like you are in the process of discerning your vocation. I have to say that God has created each of us uniquely different. He responds to each of us differently in our own ways.

He could be calling us to the vocation of
Marriage
Holy Orders
Lay Person

As a future seminarian It is still difficult to discern what is God’s calling and what is your own desires for yourself. That is why its called discernment. Whatever you do just have full faith in God and he will take care of you

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.” -Jeremiah 1:5

You just have to be able to take it to prayer and figure out what is a distraction. For me right now im deeply in love with this girl who I minister with. Its making me debate to abandon the seminary and ask her out. I am starting to realize more and more it is pointing towards the sign of distraction.

This is one of the most common struggles as a person discerning the priesthood
Who knows he might call me out of the seminary and may have me end up with her and My heart is not ready for it yet. He needs some more time to work within me.


#9

[quote="TiggerS, post:3, topic:276721"]
There are, generally speaking, three signs of a vocation:

Attraction to the life
Ability to lead the life
Acceptance into the life

It is The Lord (not the person) who provides the attraction, the ability and the acceptance. Thus, if a person is attracted to a vocation and has the ability to live out that vocation and if the particular way of life accepts the person into that way of life, then it can be a sign that God is extending an invitation - not a Divine Command.

[/quote]

I have heard this before on the "three signs" but would be grateful to see the official reference. Where did you find this information? Are there any saints or Vatican writings on knowledge of vocation?

It seems to me it is different between a (1) lay person (2) someone in religious life.

Both would do the best they could to figure out what God (LOVE) would want and then do it unless rational reasons told them to do something else. They would spend time deeply in prayer and trust that God answers prayer. (2) A religious would also be bound to obedience under a spiritual director for what is not sin. Even with a spiritual director, one must still search their conscience. See St. Katherine Drexel was first discouraged by her director, but then she was able to convince him to see her way and her way led to sainthood. This can also lead to situations where one is asked to do what is very different from what one wants; one must obey. (1) A lay person is not under obligation. While they can still have a spiritual director, knowledge of directing a lay life is not much known so the church has not made this direction binding. They should simply do their best without committing sin. Perhaps the Spiritual Exercises could help.


#10

pathsoflove.com/church-on-vocation.html

newadvent.org/cathen/15498a.htm

I am not stating that the three signs are an absolute - rather, “generally speaking”. If one reads sound Catholic sites on “Signs of Vocation” these three signs occur, which I have paraphrased. Be this as it may, there may be more signs but certainly one needs an attraction or sound motivation, one needs to be free of any impediments and to have the ability to lead the life - and then one must actually be accepted into the life or what is referred to as “the meeting of two wills” (that of the applicant and that of the superiors accepting the candidate into the community in the case of religious life vocation).

A lay person can, with the agreement of the spiritual director, bind him or herself to a promise or vow of obedience to the director. This is a private vow and would come in Canon Law under “Vows” which covers private vows.


#11

It seems to me it is different between a (1) lay person (2) someone in religious life.

There is a fundamental difference between a lay person and someone in religious life. A lay person is called most often to be in the world for the world in the lay state of life (see Apostolate of The Laity).

A religious is called out of the world into the consecrated state of life for the world (see Vita Consecrata).

The Church, The Mystical Body of Christ on earth, is missionary : “Go ye therefore into the whole world…” The word “Mass”, in fact, is taken from the Latin “missio” meaning “to send”.

God disperses His Gifts, including vocations, to whomsoever He May. With this vocation comes, from God alone, the Graces necessary to live out the vocation. We are the One Mystical Body of Christ on earth, and just as the virtue of one belongs to all, so the failure of one belongs to all - both affect the Mystical Body of Christ on earth either building or diminishing. We all are members of each other in Christ, brothers and sisters in Christ with different roles or vocations, different gifts and Graces from God. A vocation to whatever state in life is both for the person’s personal sanctification and also to build up the Mystical Body of Christ on earth. These are intertwined.

In discerning one’s particular vocation in life, the best method is with spiritual direction - although not an absolute nor an absolutely necessity. Certainly, if one has problems in discerning one’s particular vocation, seeking spiritual direction would be very wise.

Any person seeking to invest seriously in The Gospel and the spiritual life would be very blessed indeed if guided by educated, wise and holy spiritual direction.

Note - A member of a Secular Institute lives in the world for the world in the consecrated state of life:

**Secular institutes **
928 "A secular institute is an institute of consecrated life in which the Christian faithful living in the world strive for the perfection of charity and work for the sanctification of the world especially from within."472 929 By a “life perfectly and entirely consecrated to [such] sanctification,” the members of these institutes share in the Church’s task of evangelization, “in the world and from within the world,” where their presence acts as "leaven in the world."473 “Their witness of a Christian life” aims “to order temporal things according to God and inform the world with the power of the gospel.” They commit themselves to the evangelical counsels by sacred bonds and observe among themselves the communion and fellowship appropriate to their "particular secular way of life."474


#12

Quoting LovePatience: "(2) A religious would also be bound to obedience under a spiritual director for what is not sin."

A religious is usually bound by the vow of obedience to The Rule and his or her superior in the religious community insofar as I am aware anyway.


#13

I think I finally got over the nervousness of discerning when I realized that it wasn’t a path I was trying to decide whether or not I should get on. I looked down at my feet and realized I was already on it. The well-fitting shoe example is a good one.

It was also important for me to realize that whether or not my initial formation culminated in profession, all that formation and direction was not a waste of time. It’s not just about finding a yes or no; it’s about growing in grace and holiness, which happens in many ways.


#14

Well said.:thumbsup:


#15

What makes a vocation your vocation?

So far my vocation has become contributing and helping others on the Internet. And in IRL. Really it is just about assisting people that ask.


#16

Personally, I think that the internet is a relatively new apostolate and that we are just in the beginning stages of learning how it can be utilized for spreading The Gospel, offering people support etc. I see it as a valid apostolate in our times. The written word is a totally different medium to face to face contact and I think we are constructed for the face to face - at the same time not to underestimate the uses to which the internet and the written word can be used.

how do you know that something is your vocation and not just your desires etc.?

Just to refer back to the opening post by MonjaFutura - any desire of ours that is good has God as its origin since all good has its origin in God and ideally will find its end in God also. Our primary vocation flows from our Baptism (as do all vocations) and is a call to The Gospel and holiness. The call of our Baptism to The Gospel and holiness will persevere no matter the lifestyle in which we are called to fulfill that primary call. We have vows connected to our Baptism.
Sometimes a desire can indeed be a passing whim or fancy, sometimes it is something more stable and hence worth investigating. Sometimes a desire can come and then go repetitively. The very best way to travel if ever in any sort of doubt on a spiritual matter is firstly to pray about it and then equally to seek (especially re a personal vocation in life) spiritual direction.
If one does not know how to contact a spiritual director there are four ways I can think of:

[LIST]
*]Ask your parish priest
*]Ring your diocesan offices and ask if they know how you could contact a spiritual director and often diocesan offices do have this information.
*]Contact a religious order of priests and brothers, or even nuns, and ask if they undertake spirituall direction. If not, do they know how you could go about finding one.
*]Sometimes retired sisters from active order do undertake spiritual direction.
[/LIST]


#17

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