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Q & A with Father Anthony



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A vocation would be such a huge sacrifice for me. Am I just running away from it, or does this mean that I don't have a vocation?

Marie asks:

Dear Fr Anthony,

The thought has come to me in prayer, very grudgingly, that I might have a vocation. But, I am petrified and I don't want one. Sometimes I feel like the only way to serve Christ is through a vocation, but I desire a husband and many children very much. It would be a huge sacrifice to give that up. I often avoid the thought as much as possible. I am going to try and visit a convent this summer to give God first chance, but I am going with the hope that I will find I don't have a vocation to the religious life. Am I just running away from it, or does feeling like a vocation would be such a sacrifice mean that I don't have one?

Dear Marie,

The fear and almost horror that grips you when you think you might have vocation cannot of itself tell you if you have a vocation or not. It could be due to the fact that you instinctively, spiritually understand you don't have one, and then again it may be due to your attachment to something of itself more attractive and satisfying on the surface than a vocation - something good in itself and that has been a major part of your dreams and plans up to the present, and now the vocation is intruding on it all.

So how do you sort it out, how do you figure out if it is one extreme or the other or something in between?

You have to pray. You have to ask yourself some questions. You have to let it sink in that if God is calling you the way to respond is in love and generosity, and not "kicking and screaming".

When you pray, don't center on "God, tell me what you want me to do", prayer is much more than that. Thank him for all he has done for you. Try to absorb yourself into the mystery of God, how Christ is human as well as divine, how it was not easy for his human nature to give up his life for us (Gethsemane) yet he did so, for example. Adore God in your prayer, give him his place as your Creator. Intercede for others in your prayer; try to open your mind and heart to their needs and ask God how you can best help them. Of course you should also do what comes more easily in prayer - ask for what you need. Tell God to help you if it is generosity you need.

Ask yourself some questions. About life, its purpose, its length. About eternal life. Why has God been so generous with you, etc...

And when the "panic attacks" surface, step back. Don't let yourself get drawn into them. They are often a sign something is wrong, that you are looking at the wrong things, or looking at them in the wrong way.

God bless.

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