Discussion related to living as a Catholic in the single state of life. As long as a topic is being discussed from the perspective of a single Catholic then it will be on-topic.
Tobias and Sarah's story is from the Book of Tobit, and his journey is guided by Saint Raphael.
Learn More: Tobias & Sarah as led by Saint Raphael
First advice to anyone pondering this question: Refer to the voluminous material on 'vocations' in official catholic works; there's a lot to find. Some of Bl. John Paul II's Encyclicals, the Catechism, etc.; St. Ignatius of Loyola wrote down the Discernment of Spirits; St. Francis de Sales helped his followers discern their vocation and pinpointed that every person has his own vocation, being his own road to holiness.
Next to that, having a spiritual director is a must-have (imho) if you're searching your vocation. He/she can lead your prayer in the right way, helping you to stay focussed on Gods desire (what -as I found out- will appear to be your desire after all).Some verse come to mind here: "I know well the plans I have in mind for you - for you wellfare, not for your woe".
But personal witnesses won't do any harm I suppose :) Don't want to make it too long because my way was surely not the most saintly way: I was baptised when I was 0, confirmed when I was 12, came to faith when I was 19. I grew quickly in faith, but mostly in what I "did" for "God". This led me to seminary when I was 27. I had a great time there, but soon after discovered that I was more serving myself than God by following seminary. It was helped by my spiritual director urging me into the Discernment of Spirits.
The Discernment of Spirits is a powerful way of praying, seeing what God did for us and then seeing what we can do for God, all in a never-felt-before intimacy with our Lord. Consult a spiritual director (Jesuit, or whoever) who can guide you through it.
For a lot of people, priesthood is a way to submit yourself to God - but for me it was the opposite. St. Francis de Sales' teaching, the witness of holy wed couples, Jesus' words: "Behold, I will be with you always", searching my own heart and desires, confirmed me that I could give myself -and see my own desires fulfilled- most fully when I would seek marriage.
Wow, Dave, that is really well put. Really with you on that one.
Wish I could park myself in Winter Park. Warm and fine and girls out number the guys ten to one. Where the beer flows like wine. Where biblical scholars consider it to be the site of the Garden of Eden. (Please do not disabuse me of these things. I need this!)
Here in Western NC we whine over our beer. It's too cold -- though I do appreciate that the cold, dark and windy days so closely match my mood. People say, "Hi, how are you?" and I can just wave my hand at the sky vaguely and say, "Like that".
Of course if you ask a lady here how she feels about you she can wave at the sky and "like that" to you so you have to be careful.
Jessica, I have not read all the posts, but I would tell you this:
First ask the question, are you called to the consecrated life? If you have considered that, and feel you are not called to be a nun, then you are called to the vocation of marriage.
Marriage is the "natural" vocation; it is inscribed in our flesh as men and women. We are all made for marriage, unless we are called to a "higher" vocation of the consecrated life (for which we forfeit our natural right to marry and procreate, for our love of God and to be in His particular service through the avowed life).
If you have no religious vocation, then you can be pretty sure you are called to marriage, as that is the only other choice of vocation.
When are you called? Once you discern that you are not called to the consecrated life. At that point, your task, which you should be about doing, is finding the person with whom you will fullfill that call to marriage.
If you mean, is this person the one, and when did you know it, that is different question, about which I wrote an entire book.
But if you mean in the abstract, am I called to be married, this is what I believe is true.
I don't think marriage is necessarily the default vocation. I was talking with my friend a while back about the gift of single hood. There are some people in life who can just be single and don't feel called to be a priest, Nun, wife or husband. These are people who have a high degree of independents and clearly low libidos. They are rare, but they can be found.
Most people are called to marriage according to the Church. It is a 'natural vocation' which began in Genesis in order to fill up the kingdom of God with souls. It is a 'natural' call meaning instilled in the human being upon creation. Christ made it a sacrament and elevated Catholic marriage into something beyond just a 'natural' thing. And this is what separates a 'natural' marriage and a 'supernatural' marriage. The life of grace flows into the souls of two baptized person who marry whereas this is not the case for two non baptized souls. To dumb it down, the sacrament of marriage makes it drawn into the life of Christ. Non baptized souls participate in 'natural' marriages.
Religious callings are completely different. They are supernatural entirely. The Holy Spirit calls out to only a few souls and it is not 'natural' in any sense. Meaning, people are not born with this vocation but receive it from the Holy Spirit. Even if a person wanted they could not join any religious order, priesthood, etc. by sheer will without it ending in complete disaster.
The real question is not how do I know I'm called to marriage but how do I know if I'm called to a religious vocation?
From friends who've entered the religious world the same desires they've related to me: dissatifaction and uneasiness with world, an incompleteness and lack of peace in dating, an unsettled soul desiring something more, high idealism; Some have dated the best people and still felt that lack of peace in that God wanted more. I truly believe that if a person seeks out his will the Lord will give to a person a great serenity not as the world gives but a calming of the spirit which confirms the truth of a religious vocation.
This is a seriously great answer Jeff. Thank you!
When and how did you come to realize that you were called to the Sacrament of Matrimony?
Take this as my opinion.
I think we are not "called" to Matrimony, but called to love. We are all called. But we are called to love God and to love our neighbor.
I believe like one man said, he wasn't called to be married, but to be with the woman he loved. I think this is because he had found/gave love. So, if you find you are not in love with one man - you are not to be married now, but still called to love.
Such that marriage happens as a result of your call to love. Love is the means, Marriage or Heaven is a result.
Like marriage is more a sign, a vocation of love between a man and a woman than a calling.
And a vocation is more a living out of that sign of love we desired.
I wonder if that made sense.