/* -- wedding countdown script -- */
In only
Days Hours Minutes Seconds
I will be Mrs. Daniel Tobin!

Monday, January 30, 2006

On vocations

Why in the world would anyone ever choose to become a Catholic priest or a nun? Why would you give up most, if not all, worldly pleasures, and place yourself in the service of people who, at the best of times, do not appreciate you enough to make up for the sacrifices you are making? Francis Porretto in this post talks about one possible advantage. A life surrendered to God and to the discipline of the religious life relieves one from having to worry about the sundry decisions we are faced with everyday.

I think this was one of the facets of religious life that most attracted me back when I was discerning my own vocation. I think it was also the reason I eventually didn't attempt to become a nun. Well, I am not a nun because I ultimately concluded that God did not want me to be one. But part of the reasoning that led me to that conclusion was that I felt I was looking to the religious life to provide me with an escape from the daily life I was living. I wanted that imposed discipline so I wouldn't have to make the effort to discipline myself. More than anything, I wanted all the decisions made for me, so I wouldn't have to go through the torture of making them myself. Or worse - be responsible for a decision that turned out to be wrong. I wanted the freedom to be a child forever - a child of God, perhaps, but nonetheless a child.

And, ultimately, I decided that this wasn't what God wanted for me. He wanted me to grow up - to live a life where I made my own decisions, and took responsibility for my own mistakes. I perhaps run the risk of indulging too much in those worldly pleasures that I would have given up in the religious life. But I am far less at risk of being that servant who buried his talent in the ground and got no use out of it.

Not, of course, to imply that people who do have religious vocations are wasting their talents. Far from it - they will certainly find occasion to use their gifts for the greater glory of God. However, I do believe that as a general rule, we are called to the vocation that would need us to have the most dependency on God. For me, the discipline of the religious life could easily become a crutch by itself, a routine that I could follow without fear of mistakes. That routine could easily become my downfall, taking away from the loving relationship that is the goal and prize of faith. The temptation in lay life is that the very many pleasures in the world will (and do) tempt you away from that relationship as well, but the lay world is more full of the painful situations that bring you back to God too. At least, this is the way the world works for me.

I am sure there are people whose biggest cross would be to submit to the discipline of religious life, and who could not get through that without a continual resubmission to God. It is those people, I believe who are most often called to that vocation.


Post a Comment

<< Home