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Q & A with Father Anthony

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What advice would you give to a young person who is serious about their vocation to holiness, but may be called to pursue it in marriage or single life?

Phil asks:

Dear Fr Anthony,

This web site is a great idea! I've read a couple of items on the website about discerning priestly and religious vocations on this site, but so far haven't seen anything concerning discernment of marriage or single life. What advice would you give to a young person who is serious about their vocation to holiness, but may be called to pursue it in marriage or single life?


Dear Phil,

Thank you for the encouraging words. As regards marriage or the single life as vocations, I think that much of what is on the site as regards the consecrated and priestly vocation can be of help there too because, really, to discover your vocation, whatever it may be, you have to want and seek God's will above all else. It is hard to make a mistake if you try to be as generous as possible with God. Since the leaning towards marriage comes so naturally, once a person sees that he is not called to a life of consecration it usually means that the way is marriage, and then it is a question of prudently placing the means to find "the one" that God has in mind. Here it will be the same principle: prayer, and placing the means.

God bless.

Follow-up Question:

Q. Dear Fr. Anthony,

I agree completely that marriage is more natural, being the oldest vocation and the most common. I suppose what I am driving at is that these days, especially in American culture it seems, the very sacramentality and nature of marriage is not just overlooked, but simply unknown, and thus discerning marriage becomes a larger problem than just slipping into it naturally as it were. Additionally, I worry that through our (justified) esteeming of the vocations of priesthood, religious life, and consecrated life, sometimes we inadvertently make marriage out to be the vocation for everyone else who 'didn't make the cut' or weren't generous enough or holy enough, when in fact marriage, being raised to the dignity of a sacrament, is very holy, and as dignified a vocation as the others. I think it would be profitable for all of us to give more attention than we are giving currently to discernment of marriage (or at least education as to what it is in reality, in God's eyes), so as to enable those who are called to marriage to truly discover that vocation, and not simply get married because of the many reasons that people marry for, that aren't really legitimate reasons at all. Also, the Church would profit even more from this discernment and education regarding marriage if those who are called to consecrated life had a healthy and Catholic perspective and theology of what marriage is, so as to effectively minister to those who are called to marriage. My apologies for the lengthy reply! Thanks for your response! God bless!

In Christ, Phil

A. Dear Phil,

Your thoughts are right on the mark. Speaking to some of our priests who do marriage preparation programs they would agree with you totally as regards the general ignorance of the true nature of marriage. There is much to be done there. A good and important thing to remember in this context about religious or priestly vocation is that it is an extraordinary grace that God gives, and not necessarily to the best or most worthy. Believe it or not, I find among a number of young men who inquire into the priesthood a similar ignorance of its true nature - so many of them think of it as something 'they would like', or 'feel like'...

God bless,

-Fr Anthony

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