Questions about Supporting Others


Why am I so frightened of my son's vocation?

Melissa asks:

Dear Fr Anthony,
I have been praying for vocations for years. Especially for a gift of a vocation in my family. My son has spoken about a vocation. I see his love for Christ and the church. To see the joy on his face when he speaks about it, is truly wonderful.
My question is: why do I suddenly feel so frightened of it? I think the "letting go" is more difficult than I thought.

As I prayed for years for vocations, I guess I did not expect to experience these feelings. I have always believed that a religious vocation is a very special one. To be able to love and serve God totally in that special way, is truly a gift.
So why do I feel afraid or even a bit sad? I do not understand my feelings. I have not expressed this to anyone, especially not to my son. I desire that my children always seek God's will for them above all. He is their true Father and His will is the only one that has meaning, as this is where their happiness lies. Please help me to understand my lack of faith.

Dear Melissa,
Your question reminds me very much of one I was asked by a man shortly after he had suffered a heart attack and had been at the gates of death. Against all the doctors' predictions he had pulled through, but nevertheless he was agitated and he explained it like this: "I have always been a practicing Catholic, I believe in heaven; I know my brother, my wife and my parents are there, yet when I felt myself dying I just didn't want to, I held on and fought it. What's wrong with my faith? Why couldn't I let go if I really believe in heaven?"

The answer is not necessarily because there is something wrong, but simply because we are human. God's grace does not obliterate our mind, senses or feelings taking them out of the picture, it simply gives us a supernatural capacity to go beyond them, not to base our actions on them but on the realities we do not see. This oblation is true measure of our faith. We all have our tiny Gethsemane to live, and we are never alone as we do so. God bless.

* Grateful acknowledgement to Fr. Stephen Wang, author of “How to Discover your Vocation”, CTS