One Step at a Time
I love God so much, above everything, even my family. How can I go forward when my family, my mom especially, is so determined to hold me back?
by Father Anthony Bannon, LC | Source:
Q. Dear Father Anthony,
I hope you are doing well. I wrote to you some time ago (as the 29-year-old single catechumen who had “yearnings” beyond my understanding) regarding a call to a vocation that I was not certain that I had. Through prayer, introspection, and trying to follow the ways of Christ and communication with my spiritual director as well as various vocation directors, many have told me that they believe my call is genuine. I feel in my heart that it is, too. However, my problem does not lie here. I have had a lot of fear in expressing this vocation to my mom. While my mom, brother and I were drinking coffee and just talking, my brother (who is more aware of my feelings to my vocation than my mom is) spoke up and said, “If you become a priest, I’m moving to California.” Then my mom, who became frightfully alert, took me by the arm and with hyperbole said, “Please don’t become a priest. I’ll become an alcoholic or I’ll kidnap you before you make any move in that direction. I’ll support you in your conversion to the Catholic faith and your baptism, but it ends there.” Since my father passed away, my presence has been the glue that has held the family together. I love God so much, above everything, even my family. How can I go forward when my family, my mom especially, is so determined to hold me back? Thank you and God bless.
A. Dear Christian,
First of all, put all your trust in Christ, and then take one step at a time.
The first step is your baptism and entrance into the Church. Don’t let anything disturb or hinder this, which will be a source of great graces for yourself, and undoubtedly also for your family.
Once you are baptized you will then have to give some time to maturing in your newfound faith before being able to act on your vocation; this does not mean you have to put your vocation on the back-burner, but it does mean that you will not be able to follow up on it immediately as regards entering a seminary. You can and should continue to discern and foster it in your soul, but you will be around your family for at least another year and a half after your baptism, and a lot can happen in that time.
You can be sure that living today as best you can is the best preparation for tomorrow’s challenges.
Pray for your mother and brother (intercessory prayer) that they will get to know Christ themselves; that will be the greatest gift you can ask for them.
Here is the silver lining to your difficulty: a vocation cannot be understood until we have some hint in our soul of what Christ did for us, and it could well be a blessing in disguise that your mother doesn’t just step back and say, “I’ll respect your choice.” If that were the case she might never discover Christ, but her difficulty and your prayer, and the conversations you will have, the questions you will answer, may well be God’s way of preparing her soul for the gift of faith.
– Father Anthony
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