In Paul’s letter to the Ephesians and to us, Eph. 1: 9-10, Paul explains what God’s intent is; namely, that we come to understand “fully the mystery, the plan to be decreed in Christ in the fullness of time: to bring all things into one in him, in the heavens and on the earth.” In discerning one’s vocation in life—marriage, religious life, priesthood or the single life—an individual needs to ask the question:
In which lifestyle am I more likely to realize my oneness with the Trinity?
God is not going to tell you that in neon lights. Quiet, internal messages, insights and hunches will point you in the direction that is right for you. An inner, Creative Energy will steer you toward that state in life that is the likely place where you will realize your full potential as a human being: intimacy with God and a growing, deepening awareness of God’s oneness with you.
Will you best reach that goal with a carefully chosen partner in marriage?
Will you best realize that goal as a diocesan priest or a religious-order priest, such as a Benedictine, a Jesuit, a Dominican, a Franciscan, an Augustinian, or any other men religious congregation?
Will you best realize that goal as a single person?
Will you best realize that goal as a woman religious (Dominican, Franciscan, Benedictine, Augustinian or any other woman religious congregations)?
Those questions need to be answered. Those of you considering religious life and/or priesthood, I encourage you to talk in person with persons who have consecrated their lives to the Lord and to search the web and browse the websites of diocesan priests, women/men religious, religious brothers. If considering marriage, I encourage you to talk to your parents about marriage or to any other married couple whom you also admire. I also encourage you to meditate on marriage/the sacrament of matrimony in the Catholic Catechism of the Catholic Church. If considering the single lifestyle, I encourage you to talk to persons who have chosen to remain single and whom you admire for their way in which they are living out their faith. I also encourage you to study the section on “Vocation” in the Catechism of the Catholic Church and any other section that speaks to you of deepening your baptismal call.
All of you contemplating which vocation God is inviting you to consider, I invite you to talk to God about this concern. God has a plan for you full of hope (Jer. 30: 11). Ask Him to show you His plan for you, to make it clear to you which path is best for you.