How can I be happy now?
Dear Fr Anthony,
I'm a freshman in Highschool and I know I'm too young to really begin discerning a vocation but I feel incredibly empty. I don't want to wait because I know that my vocation will be fulfilling and beautiful and I feel like right now, I'm just wasting time I could be using to glorify God. I'm between married and consecrated life being surrounded by consecrated women of Regnum Christi. I feel so joyous and at home with them but at the same time yearn for a family of my own and the chance to experience the joys of married life. I guess my real question is what can I do now to increase my prayer life and enjoy the vocation I am currently partaking in instead of focusing so entirely on God's will for me for the future? How can I be happy now when I know there is something greater out there?
Some technical difficulties created a backlog of messages, but better late than never. I hope I am in time to still be of help to you.
You managed to pack a lot of questions into your short message, but they are all connected because they revolve around-of all people-yourself! But I don't see it as being self-centered in a negative way because they are questions everyone should be asking if we are to find our true happiness in this life and in the next. Plus, you are the right time in your life to be asking them.
Just a little something we need to clarify first: You mention that you are "too young to really begin discerning a vocation", but if you look carefully that is exactly what your questions are really about, so you probably mean to say that you feel you are too young to jump into a vocation right now. Discerning is the "figuring out" part of a vocation, and I see that happening in your message: you feel "incredibly empty", you feel torn between married and consecrated life, you are searching for happiness, and you want to live better the stage of your life you are at instead of focusing entirely on the future.
You may not realize it, Hannah, but all your questions show that you are in a very good "place" as regards your way of thinking and where your feet are (on the ground.) You have experienced the special joy there is in consecrated people, you feel at home and happy with them, in their presence you probably feel less "empty", but at the same time you recognize what is at the center of the happiness of that life: the sacrifice of human love and family lived in a fully Christian way in all its own beauty and joy, and you find that your heart yearns too for such love. So, you are living in reality, you can see both sides of the story. Good. No better place to be.
I think you have the answer in your desire to focus on the present.
You can be happy now knowing there is something greater out there if you know that what you are doing now is going to bring that "something greater" always closer while at the same time preparing you for it. Build your prayerlife around Jesus in the Eucharist. Receive him as often as you can in Communion, remember him during the day, read a little of the Gospel every day, pray the Rosary; speak regularly with your spiritual guide and go to Confession regularly too. When you are praying don't only focus on yourself and your needs-open up your heart to see all you have to thank God for; open your eyes to see the needs of those around you, pray for them, ask Jesus what he would like you to do to help them, and get something going with your friends to do so; open your heart and mind also to the needs of the Church and pray for vocations; open your mind to the needs of the world and resolve in your prayer to develop your intelligence and moral character so as to bring Christ's light and joy with you wherever he places you now (in your family, school, team) and in the future (in your vocation, whichever it may be: consecrated life or marriage.) As you can see, there is lots to keep you busy right now.
The best part is, if you do this you are preparing your mind and heart to receive and live out whatever God asks of you in the future because the key will always be the same: prayer and putting the needs of others before your own.