“Ask a Priest: What If I Reject a Call to a Vocation?”

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Q: What happens when a person chooses another choice instead of what God wants? I have a calling to be married to Jesus and by answering this call, I will have to be single for the rest of my life. I have always wanted to get married and have a family of my own. But now, I am forced to choose this calling. If I reject this calling to be married to God, I will be disobeying God. And I feel that by rejecting this call, God will most definitely not be pleased with me and will “punish me” or make “bad things happen to me.” Jesus has expressed to me that I will suffer in marriage and be very unhappy. But my question is, through your experience, what has happened to those who rejected the call and choose to get married? Did they end up in very bad marriages with children who gave them a lot of problems? And what kind of other problems? I hope for your enlightenment. I am a female in my 30s. Thank you. – N.L.

Answered by Fr. Edward McIlmail, LC

A: It’s good to remember your core identity: You are a beloved daughter of God. And he only wants the best for you. He wants your holiness and your happiness.

God’s perfect will for us will be the easiest path to holiness. But he won’t force his will on us; rather, he respects our free will. And like any decision we make, it has consequences.

Before going further, let’s back up a minute.

First, discernment a vocation to consecrated life or priesthood is something that the Church does, along with the person. This is a process that can take time – not the kind of thing that lends itself to a quick answer.

You mention that you “have a calling to be married to Jesus” and that Our Lord has expressed to you that you would be very unhappy in a worldly marriage. You don’t mention how you arrived at these views. Perhaps you have experienced a strong inspiration from the Holy Spirit.

It would be good to seek out a spiritual director. A good director could help you make sense of the maze of feelings and thought processes that are moving you, and the consolations and desolations that you are experiencing.

A good director will help you discern whether thoughts and inspirations are coming from God or from elsewhere. (For suggestions on finding a director, check out spiritualdirection.com.)

Second, it is good to remember that God is inviting, not vengeful. You shouldn’t think that he is ready to pounce on you for not doing what you believe is his will for your path in life.

Nevertheless, if you reject his call, then you will, in effect, be opting for another type of cross. The difference is that you might not get the same amount of grace as you would if you followed what you perceived to be God’s perfect will.

Put another way: God will give us sufficient grace to follow his plans. If we go another way, we shouldn’t be surprised that there will be less grace bestowed.

Now, it’s hard to say what awaits you if you don’t follow what you believe to be God’s will. Life is unpredictable.

You might want to consider the impact your decision could have on others, such as a husband and children. They might share in the impact of your decision, for better or worse.

In any case, even the best marriages have their share of suffering.

In addition to seeking out a spiritual director, it might help you to go before a crucifix and the Blessed Sacrament. Look at Jesus on the cross, and think what kind of answer you will give him.

I hope that some of this helps. Count on my prayers.


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