Should I forego UCLA to follow a vocation?
Dear Fr Anthony,
Hello! Well first of all I want to thank u for taking the time and read my message. I really appreciate it. A few weeks ago I went to a vocational retreat with some religious who I met a year ago. i have to admit I just went because i always felt curious about their life style and I was bored at home. There I experienced an amazing and unexplainable peace. At the begging I believe it was too much praying but later on.. my own desire to pray was built. I came home with a whole different perspective about life and feeling totally happy. I began to experience a tremendous love for Christ, nothing like I used to feel before. Tear rolled down from my cheeks during the consecration and I feel a big desire to be at church all the time! I don't know if this is a true calling from God or something my mind is making up. I'm worried because I'm about to start college. I feel I have two roads ahead of me, UCLA, something I worked so hard to get and has been the dream of my life and there is also my desire to dedicate my entire life to Jesus, be her spouse. I don't know what to do, at moment i feel I should let me drive my this unknown force inside of me and say yes to the sisters but on the other hands I'm afraid i will make a big mistake and lose the opportunity of UCLA. I'm willing to give of everything if God wants me to but what if this is not the right way. What should i do? should I go to collage for a year and see how that goes? I need to make a decision soon. =) thanks!
You have had a very strong religious experience with a significant emotional factor (which is not unusual or bad), but which now needs to be matured. A very good sign is that you are thinking and are not controlled totally by your emotions. You are trying to be prudent and at the same time you are giving the vocation the value it deserves.
There are a few things I would suggest to you, as well as keeping very close to Jesus in prayer. In the first place: do the sisters have any sort of introductory program, could you go and spend time with them right away so that they can get to know you well and you can see their life closer up? I would heartily recommend spending a month or two with them before deciding. For that reason, it is important not to forfeit your college opportunity yet. Keep that option open, even paying a registration fee. You mention that you met with the sisters a year ago; now, if you have been in touch with them and they have been able to get to know you over the year, and if you went on the vocational retreat precisely because you were thinking of a vocation, that means that your inclination to the vocation is not a sudden, last-minute thing, but something that has been growing over time. That would also be positive on the side of the vocation. You should also ask the sisters (either the superior or the vocation director) if they really think they know you well enough, and if they think it would be prudent for you to try the vocation this year. If they are in agreement and the vocation has been growing over time, now just may be the time to jump in in faith.
Should you or the sisters decide that you are not ready enough right now and you end up going to college, I would suggest that you not go with the attitude to simply "see what happens". You should have something concrete in mind. What I mean is, give your vocation the priority it deserves. Take your first year in college as the chance to discover your vocation: Visit the sisters regularly and do some retreats with them; do some regular apostolic work with them; continue to develop your prayer-life; be active in the Newman Center; do the best you can in your studies; choose your friends well and be careful in the way you spend your time; have a spiritual director. If you do this, you should be ready to make a clear decision within a few months.