Parents' perspectives on a Catholic vocation journey
If you have read some of the parent stories on this blog, you have seen that a vocation does not have to come from the super catholic families with 12 children who pray the rosary every night. Everyday, parents try to do the best they can to raise their children in the faith. Some days we succeed and some days we fail. Looking back on how we raised our children, it seems the list of things we did wrong is much longer than the things we did right. Does this sound like your parenting experience? If so, you may be asking yourself, “How did this happen in our family?”
Here is a post from a website from the Vocations Office in Newark NJ called New Priest NJ. There is a category of blog posts labelled “Parents” on the lower right side of the page. This post talks about how the thought of a vocation can grow in a person’s mind and heart and how it needs to be explored. Read this excerpt to see how this young man answered his call to discernment.
“Just a Thought” posted May 22, 2015
It starts with a thought. It develops with a question. The answer leads to fulfillment.
Many men who have grown up in the Church have, at one point or another, considered the priesthood. Even if it was a fleeting moment while serving as an Altar boy or on a Youth retreat, men in the Church consider the priesthood. As these men witness the lives of their parish priests, oftentimes they think, “I wonder what made him want to be a priest…Could I do that?” Unfortunately, for many men, the discernment process ends with that one thought. It is either quickly disregarded or not encouraged enough to develop or bear fruit.
As with any way of life, when we see a good or positive role model, we are drawn to be like that person.
Part of desiring to be like that person naturally brings about the question, HOW are they like that? When we are blessed to have good, holy men in our parishes, it can lead to developing good and holy men discerning God’s will in their lives. Growing up, I saw the hardworking priests in my parish that made me feel welcome and that I mattered. I saw how happy they were as priests-administering the sacraments, leading ministry groups, running pilgrimages, and much more. They were kind, thoughtful, faithful, and dedicated to the people of the parish. Their words spoke to my heart and I often thought that I could be happy living a life like that.
It is very common for that thought to enter the head of men with similar experiences. It is that very thought that begins discernment in a man’s life. The thought must be developed and nurtured. It must become a question—“Is Jesus calling me to be one of His priests?”
The question is nurtured through prayer and discernment. For some this question leads them to study and enter into formation in a Seminary. For others this question is considered while working or studying full time.
Eventually, when he asks the question sincerely and is completely open to receiving the answer, the Lord responds. For some the answer is YES, for others the answer is NO. For me, the answer was no, but I can now live out my vocation to married life with confidence that I laid it all on the table—I have no regrets—and I am a better husband and father because I allowed that thought to become a question and the answer brought about fulfillment in my life.
Please know the contributing authors on this blog pray daily for parents of discerning sons and daughters to find peace and understanding.