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Q & A with Father Anthony



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Should I quit school, get a job and spend my free time praying?

Marc asks:

Dear Fr Anthony,

Father, I am 18 years old. I feel God is calling me, but I'm not sure what to do. I'm converting to Catholicism and haven't been received yet, but I'm sure this is what God wants. I've always believed in God ever since I was young. He was and is as real to me as my parents. I have talked to him very intimately every day. Then I lost my faith for a few years. Now I'm back with God. I've always wanted to do two things more than anything else - help others and serve God. I also have a knack for academics, and I've read lots of theology, from basics of world religions to Thomas Aquinas - all in my spare time. Father, the point is that I'm in my last year of voluntary schooling. I just can't motivate myself to keep working - I just want to be with God to serve him now. What should I do? Should I quit school, get a job, and spend my free evenings praying? Should I stay on and wait? Thank you in advance for your help.

Dear Marc,

 I think you should curb a little your impulse to quit school, get a job, and spend your free evenings praying. This is why: you are at the beginning of your discovery of where God is leading you, you want to deepen your relationship with him and live for him alone, you are in the process of being received into the Catholic Church, and your basic education is not yet complete. So there is a lot of "construction underway" in your life right now, and your actions at this juncture will have a profound effect on your future, so you have to decide prudently.

Prudence says to stay on at school and finish that out. Prudence says to continue your study of the Catholic faith (the Catechism) so that your knowledge of the gift God is giving you will be as complete as possible when you receive it. Prudence says to continue to grow in your prayer life, but in a way that will integrate your ordinary duties and make them part of your response to your Christian vocation. Your motivation to continue working at school has to be, “because that is what Jesus wants of me right now”, it is what he wants of an 18-year-old to whom he has given the gift of intelligence. So do it out of love for him, and remember that if you want to help others you need to continue to develop the talents God gave you as you search for your concrete call in life. You need to look around for some way to help others now - a way that is compatible with your present primary responsibilities.

I hope these points help you. It is great to hear of your enthusiasm for prayer but you have to keep in mind the other things God wants of you as well at this stage in your life, and don’t forget you can turn the ordinary things of life into prayer by doing them out of love and with the intention of praising him through your actions.

Please don’t hesitate to get back to me if I can be of further assistance.

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