PRAYER TO KNOW ONE’S VOCATION
Lord, my God and my loving Father, you have made me to know you, to love you, to serve you, and thereby to find and to fulfill my deepest longings. I know that you are in all things, and that every path can lead me to you.
But of them all, there is one especially by which you want me to come to you. Since I will do what you want of me, I pray you, send your Holy Spirit to me: into my mind, to show me what you want of me; into my heart, to give me the determination to do it, and to do it with all my love, with all my mind, and with all of my strength right to the end. Jesus, I trust in you. Amen
Christ must be so happy to have such a “good friend” who seeks to be his “servant and bride.” I imagine Jesus telling you (we heard it quite often in the liturgy during the Easter season) “Peace be with you.” We never have to be afraid of Christ or what He may ask of us - He wants us to be happy and that is what He invites us to. Christ promises us that He is “the Way.” (John 14: 5-6) Christ will show you where He wants you to go to serve Him, if you continue to seek Him in prayer. To complement your prayer you may want to start looking at different possibilities for ministry. Vocation.com is a helpful website and may give you a few ideas.
As far as telling your parents - be simple. You know your parents and your relationship with them far better than I do, so you will be the best judge of how to actually tell them. But here is what I can suggest: Find a good moment (when they have time to listen and are not busy trying to take care of lots of other things). Ease them into the conversation maybe by telling them how happy or fulfilled you are in your prayer life and faith-based activities, and then share with them the idea that you could possibly have a vocation. If you are convinced that God is calling you, it’s probably better to tell your parents sooner rather than later - they may need some time to process the idea. They can have that time while you finish high school…which you will need to do before entering any religious order or consecrated life.
Count on my prayers! ~ Christiane
Jesus at a certain point says, referring to his sheep: “My Father, who gave them to me…” (John 10:29). This is very important, it is a profound mystery, it is not easy to understand: if I feel attracted by Jesus, if his voice warms my heart, it is thanks to God the Father, who has placed in me the desire for love, for truth, for life, for beauty… and Jesus is all of this in its fullness! This helps us to understand the mystery of vocation, especially of calls to a special consecration. Sometimes Jesus calls us, invites us to follow him, but perhaps it occurs that we do not realize that it is him…
Pope Francis - Wednesday Audience - April 21, 2013
Well, here’s a question right back at you: Do you think you’re praying “enough” or “well enough”?
Right at the core of religious life is a relationship, and it’s with Someone whose Hand you can hold all day and whose Thoughts are always about you.
You can’t be happy in the long run if you neglect that relationship no matter what your vocation is, but especially if you know in the depth of your heart that Jesus has singled you out for a special exclusive mind-bogglingly breathtaking love.
So if you’re praying well, it won’t be hard for you to grasp the awesomeness of the call to religious life, but if you’re not, it’ll be a lot easier for the price tag to come back into focus instead of the awesomeness you get. Don’t forget…
Peter said to him in reply, “We have given up everything and followed you. What will there be for us?” Jesus said to them, “Amen, I say to you that you who have followed me, in the new age, when the Son of Man is seated on his throne of glory, will yourselves sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And everyone who has given up houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands for the sake of my name will receive a hundred times more, and will inherit eternal life.
— Matthew 19:27-29
May God bless you abundantly!
- Father Shane
That’s the original basic meaning of the word “discernment”: discovering the origin of emotions and thoughts in us. They can arise from God, from the enemy, or from our own (not always perfect) desires.
It’s 100% normal that you start to have plenty of mixed emotions as the date for application draws near. Almost invariably, both the enemy and our own fears start to gnaw at our resolution. If you’ve had enough time to think this over already (if you’re not acting on impulse), the usual advice will be to ignore the emotional chaos right now, fill out your application, and discover in the postulancy/candidacy/novitiate process what the origin of all that chaos is and what God is really calling you to.
So, sorry if I’m bursting your bubble, but your discernment regarding the origin of that feeling of being called… is just beginning!
May God bless you abundantly!
- Father Shane
If that’s your own struggle right now, I would encourage you to discuss this question privately face-to-face with a priest or vocation director you can trust. There are so many factors involved that a long drawn-out answer here probably wouldn’t satisfy anyway.
God bless you!
- Father Shane
Sorry to take forever to get back to you about this!
You shouldn’t crave “dating experience”… crave love. We’re made and we’re wired for marriage, and as a man you’re made to be completed by a woman you love. But if as a man called to be a priest you’re called to a higher love, then that should definitely be the first path that you explore in your discernment.
So the general advice given in this case is going to be to discern priesthood first, get to clarity about that, and then move either in the direction of seminary or in the direction of marriage. Give the life of consecration to God your first shot, and he will always take care of the rest, don’t worry. More wisdom on that here.
So keep craving love, and let’s see whether it’s “<3 love” or Love!
- Father Shane
Regarding the first question I would say a religious order is a form of community that involves groups of people living together under a “Rule” approved by the Church for the sake of following and imitating Jesus Christ more closely. In making a stab at your second question: It seems you are perceiving some kind of contradiction between belonging to a specific community and belonging to the Catholic Church as a whole. In reality there is no opposition in belonging to a specific community and being Catholic. In fact, when it comes to religious orders and movements, those people who join, do so expressly because they experience they are helped to flourish in their Christian/Catholic lives by means of belonging to a smaller community. Grace builds on nature. Humans are social beings by their nature. So just as people can be helped to improve in something by associating with others so can they be helped to improve spiritually by associating with others for that reason.
Hope that helps. God bless. ~ Christiane
Man cannot live without love. He remains a being that is incomprehensible for himself, his life is senseless, if love is not revealed to him, if he does not encounter love, if he does not experience it and make it his own, … The man who wishes to understand himself thoroughly must with his unrest, uncertainty and even his weakness and sinfulness, with his life and death, draw near to Christ.
It is Jesus that you seek when you dream of happiness. He is waiting for you when nothing else satisfies you. He is the beauty to which you are so attracted. It is He who provoked you with that thirst for fullness that will not let you settle for compromise… It is Jesus who stirs in you the desire to do something great with your lives, the will to follow an ideal, the refusal to allow yourselves to be ground down by mediocrity, the courage to commit yourselves humbly and patiently to improving yourselves and society, making the world more human and more fraternal.” ~ Blessed John Paul II