On Vocation--A Needed Amendment Therese


On Vocation--A Needed Amendment

Therese sounds a note of caution in a comment below:

"I really think being called to an order is a vocation and must be subject to a process of discernment. Going to one's weakest point may not always be God's will, nor practically possible."

This statement is important enough to require a reiteration and a definitive clarification of my purpose in making the post in the first place. First and foremost, she is correct, being called to an Order is a vocation. As a formation director and coordinator, I cannot possibly make this point strongly enough. Many well-intentioned people think that they must belong to an order to achieve holiness--but more about that later.

First, I DO NOT recommend that everyone play to their weakest point (nor do I think that Therese thought this). The point of the post below was to share something of my own process of discernment. These were things I very deliberately and very carefully thought and prayed about as I was considering the Carmelite Vocation. Taken alone, they probably would not have been decisive, but taken with the voice of St. John of the Cross, they were compelling evidence of where I needed to be.

So, please do follow Therese's advice regarding discernment if you are considering an order.

Also, please, please, please remember that not everyone is called to an order. One need not belong to any "named" group to achieve holiness. Following a rule is not the only, nor even the best way to holiness--following your heart and head and discerning the gentle lead of the Holy Spirit to God Himself is what each person is called to.

We have a great many people seeking to join Carmel, as I am sure many third orders experience, who have no real vocation, but who see this as yet another point on the scoreboard in the sky. God does not give extra points for joining an Order, for that matter He does not give points at all, but if He did we are told that it would be for obedience--"If you love me you will heed my commands." So, anyone thinking about a vocation out there, get a spiritual director and spend a lot of time discerning. Not everyone is called and you do a disservice to yourself and to the Order by trying to wedge yourself in. Holiness is not the sole property of Catholic Orders. Many of us find a way within them, but a great many more find a way in simply living holy lives in the Church at large.

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This page contains a single entry by Steven Riddle published on January 22, 2003 7:07 AM.

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