Today’s young adults are sometimes called the ‘maybe’ generation for avoiding decisions about their vocation, said Father Anthony of the Transfiguration.
Habits of hiding behind short term goals, letting failures drag one down, and taking bad advice from friends are just a few of the pitfalls that can ensnare the journey to discovering one’s vocation.
These pitfalls and practical tips to discerning marriage, the priesthood or religious life are described in Father Anthony and the Community of the Beatitudes’ recently released book, “Discerning your Vocation: A Catholic Guide for Young Adults.”
Craig Nelson, a 24-year-old auto mechanical engineer, said he found the book a joy and is taking concrete steps to discern marriage or religious life.
“Their book is such a simple guide and gives you direction on a simple level that it’s really easy to relate to and it really makes a lot of sense,” Nelson said.
Although at first reluctant to join the community’s Disciples of the Lamb group because of a full schedule, he found it’s been a help to grow in his faith by committing to the gathering. He attended a few retreats at St. John Vianney Theological Seminary and went on a pilgrimage to Rome.
The book begins with a letter by Father Jacques Philippe, member of the Community of the Beatitudes, an international association of faithful based on Carmelite spirituality.
Father Anthony writes with Sister Emmanuelle Borchardt and Father Nathanael Pujos—who live in community based at St. Catherine of Siena Parish—about setting a foundation to discernment, criteria to the discernment process, avoiding pitfalls and taking steps to realize the vocation.
“Young people today are too busy,” Father Anthony said about avoiding some pitfalls. “We don’t know how to get out of our own indecision.”
He said the book is used as a guide to help youth on their path and then make a truly free choice about their vocation.
Stephen Paskvich, a 25-year-old graduate student at the Colorado School of Mines in Golden, said he took the first step to discern a vocation with the Community of the Beatitudes. Upon approval, he’ll begin a year of discernment.
“I really grew attracted to the community,” Paskvich said about his time at Mines. “Along with all the previous discussions about discerning the priesthood, they helped move me toward making the concrete step toward that discernment. With the support of my friends and family, I decide to request candidacy with the Beatitudes. That is the first step.”
Having a supportive group of friends and priests with whom he could discuss his thoughts and feelings and experiences in prayer was helpful in discernment, he said.
Paskvich said the book has been a useful tool for him.
“Each of the chapters really tie together well and they give you an idea about what it means to enter the discernment process and what your goals are with the process,” he said. “It’s probably one of the most useful tools I’ve had in discernment.”
“Discerning your Vocation: A Catholic Guide for Young Adults”
Author: Community of the Beatitudes
Publisher: Society of St. Paul
Their thoughts on discernment
“First, you really can’t do it alone. I found with discernment it was really important to reach out to my spiritual director, to be involved with different kinds of activities, with different religious orders and have a solid group of Catholic friends living out the faith. Also, faithfulness through prayer. The only way to be confident with your decision is through prayer. The third thing is openness. It doesn’t mean just recognizing something that is there, but acting on it.”
-Stephen Paskvich, 25, graduate student
“I have to admit these last few months, I feel like God has really pushed me to make a decision. We can fall into a certain trap of fear of what we should do. You shouldn’t be afraid to make certain decisions.”
– Craig Nelson, 24, auto-mechanical engineer