What If My Parents Are Against It?

Do not walk away from the vocation just because it is not easy and is forcing some hard choices on you.
by Father Anthony Bannon, LC | Source:

First: do not walk away from the vocation just because it is not easy and is forcing some hard choices on you. Do not let anything come before Christ, and then deal with the situation.

Second: try to get to the bottom of their problem, although it may not always be possible. Why their opposition, why their fear?

• Do they object not so much to you giving yourself to God, but to the manner in which you do so (they don’t want you to be a contemplative because they don’t understand the vocation...they want you closer to home...they just want grandkids...).

• Are their instincts telling them something important about you that you do not see, and that might be a sign you don’t really have a vocation?

• Are they simply testing your resolve?

• Are they worried and would prefer you succeed as a layman than fail as a priest?

• Are they sensitive to spiritual things or not? You may not always be able to speak to them about it, but you might be able to speak to someone they have unburdened themselves with. A helpful question to ask yourself in this case sometimes is: what would change if I told them I am going to get married and have accepted a job overseas?

Third: pray. When we hear this advice, to pray, what usually comes to mind is prayer to God for him to change the situation and solve the problem. But there is more to prayer than that.

We usually think of prayer as asking — but it is also offering, adoring, accepting, interceding, praising. Prayer is to raise up our minds and hearts to God to know his will, to praise him for his benefits, to ask him for his grace, to look at Christ and grow in his love. Prayer is one of the means we have to transform ourselves from the weak, self-centered people we are into the type of people Christ is looking for (remember the beatitudes, the parable of the Good Samaritan).

So when we talk about praying in the situation you are now in (you are of legal age, with your parents dead set against your vocation and not seeming to take into consideration your age and decision) we are talking about thanking God for all the good things he has given you through your parents and for the trial you are going through, we are talking about asking him to purify your soul and make it strong, about offering up to him the sacrifice of not being accepted or respected, about asking him to help you never to waver in seeking what he wants, and about praying for your parents.

And how about asking him to change my parents’ mind? Do that, too, but don’t miss the wonderful opportunity you have by limiting your prayer to just that.

Fourth, you also need to consider your family’s needs: do your parents need your support? If they do, if you are the only one they have to turn to and they are in need and will definitely need your support in the future, that is most probably where your immediate duty lies. This would in all probability rule out religious life, but depending on the particular circumstances it might not rule out a diocesan vocation. You will have to inquire.

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