Eventually, in my heart, the answer became clear. But it was gradual. It was never a burning bush or a voice from the heavens. And honestly, I think I grew more as a person because of it. Throughout my seemingly endless period of questioning my future, I learned to trust. God created the Universe. Did I honestly think He couldn’t handle University?
I always tell people who are discerning their vocation to be courageous and remember Jesus said, “I came that you might have life and have it to the full.” His dreams for us are our joy. God both wants the best for us and gives us every grace and strength we need. God is the best lover, friend, guide, help, mentor we could ever wish for!
Learn to love the quiet, gentle (yet strong) way He speaks. He never forces us to listen to Him so we must learn to be quiet and to love His voice.
So when a person comes to speak to me initially, that is how I try to explain it to them. They are not signing their life away, and ultimately, my interest is their eternal joy and salvation, and if it is not as a priest, or a priest for my diocese, I want them to figure that out. So they are certainly not committing to anything with just a conversation with me.
Now, as a senior in college I am not a princess or a wedding cake maker. As I grew up I realized that I could not continue to plan my life around things that could change. I decided it made sense to anchor my life in the one thing that would never change, the one thing that would continually satisfy me – seeking the will of God the Father and living my life asking for His help and direction.
To be honest, I felt lost. Some days I would think that being a priest was my calling, others that having a giant family (thirteen kids to be exact) was. In my life I would see signals everywhere — a bible verse that told me to be a priest and a baby that told me to be a dad. It distressed me; I was frustrated a lot of the time, and it began to wear on me. I was asking God why he didn’t just tell me what was up.
When I was in college I decided that I wanted to do more than just go to Church on Sunday. But what should I do? My local youth group was lackluster, and I didn’t want to go to church meetings with elderly ladies who knew me when I was a toddler. My short attention span meant that I wasn’t going to join anything that required me to spend hours at home praying.
I was stuck… so I prayed.
I’m still not exactly sure why I started writing them. I wish I could say that I had some noble, romantic reason, but that would be a lie. It was more like a combination of frustration and distraction. One night, I was trying to pray before I went to bed. I was really struggling with […]
The idea of discerning our vocation can cause a lot of anxiety. Wondering if we are called to be married, enter religious life, who we should date, if we should visit convents or try out seminary can be overshadowed by fear – fear that we'll do the wrong thing or that God will plant us somewhere that will make us miserable.
Figuring out what to do in the future is one of the things that most young people struggle to figure out. Now that you know your identity, you can remind yourself that God, indeed, has a purpose for you. You were created for a reason, and figuring that reason out will be one of the most exciting things you ever do.
I want a lot of things out of life. I want to be happy. I want to feel like I have purpose. I want to be loved. I want to make a difference. I want to live a life I'm proud of. I want to be a saint. I want chocolate and tacos but not at the same time.
But I don't know where to find those vague and lofty desires. Are they only talked about in poems and songs? Because so many people around me aren't happy with their lives, or haven't found their purpose, or are settling for counterfeit love and a bottle of booze.
About three years ago, I went through a big conversion and in the course of a few months my faith grew exponentially and so much in my life changed. I was reading everything about the Church I could get my hands on, I prayed the rosary daily and I practically lived in the adoration chapel. I was in love with my faith and everyone around me knew it.
However, as wonderful as my renewed spiritual life was, I quickly began to freak out . . . being that holy obviously meant I was being called to be a nun, right?
The most important part of all of this is in Jesus' first three words to Peter, 'Come after me.' With these words, Jesus is not only saying that Peter must physically follow him, but that Peter's desires are to come after His as well. If we focus on doing what Jesus is asking us to do, our lives will change radically. Obviously, not all of us will become Pope, like Peter, but I guarantee that God will do far greater things with your life than you could ever do on your own.
Almost every week, I get an email from a teen or young adult asking what they should do if they want to pursue youth ministry as a career. First, I have to say how exciting it is to see God lifting up a new generation of young ministers to His Church. You stand as a testament to quality youth ministry happening at your parish. Second, I encourage you to continue to listen to the promptings of the Holy Spirit as the Lord leads you into the plan He has for your life (Jeremiah 29:11).