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[dropcap style=”font-size: 60px; color: #9b9b9b;”]T[/dropcap]he first is an example of a person who wished to discover the basic state of life God wished for him. In searching out the dream of God for him he came to a conviction that the Lord wished him to be a priest. So he took his choice to prayer asking the Lord to confirm it. At the beginning there was a sense of peace with the choice. Later, however, there was much disturbance in his inner being: zest for life was disappearing, his mind was concentrated on himself, he experienced sleeplessness, life was becoming a burden and there were other interior experiences. In discussing this with his spiritual director, he indicated that the only way to open to someone who wished “to live all perfection” was in the priesthood. When the director suggested to him that it was possible to live the life of perfection in whatever state the Lord called him, he replied quite spontaneously that his deepest desire was to be married and have children. Then he spent some weeks on further prayer and checking out his inner experience while considering the married state of life. The results were the opposite of those mentioned above: a lightsomeness of being, zest for life, an excitement at new possiblities and a recognition that he could serve other men and women in the married state. He is now a happily married man with three children and much involved in promoting lay spirituality in everyday life.

[dropcap style=”font-size: 60px; color: #9b9b9b;”] W [/dropcap]e might consider another example almost the opposite of the above. This person fell deeply in love and through much reflection came to the convition that she was called to the married state. As the time of marriage approached she was much agitated by the thought of her future life. Upon inquiry, it became obvious that these were not the normal fears of a bride-to-be. In her uncertainty she did not want to hurt the man she loved so much. Still, this question persisted: “How might I best serve the Lord?” In her being, she sensed a great attraction to be present to and serve many persons. Although she did not feel certain that this meant a call to the religious life, it did indicate to her that she needed more confirmation about the married state. A weekend retreat led her to decide to spend some time in a religious order and experience this other state of life. She entered a house of formation and about a year later was surprised to experience the grace of freedom with respect to both states of life. She realized that she could be happy in either state and serve the Lord well in both. She knew that she was free to choose either and that she was to choose the one that almost fulfilled her deepest desires. She chose the religious life and still feels, after twenty years, that this is her vocation for life.

[box] Adapted from the following sources:

“Discerning Your Vocation” by John English, SJ;

“Following God’s Call by Judette Gallares, RC

and “Individual Psycho-Spiritual Discernment” by Ruben Tanseco, SJ[/box]