It is my firm belief that God has a plan for every person, and that His plan for each of us includes a vocation. For each of us, that vocation is as unique as we are. Discovering what are vocation is, and therefore our place in God's plan, is the key to our happiness in this life. Life is never perfect, and we are all faced with challenges and struggles, but within the context of our vocation we can still thrive and find peace. In my own life, my journey to discover my particular vocation has led me all the way to Rome and back, through years of discernment and prayer. So long as I followed the call of God in my life, I have found deep reward and consolation, even in my trials. Those times when I let my eyes turn from God, I have come so close to losing myself all I could see was darkness.
God has led me along a path that has felt so winding and long, but in the end, was always aiming me towards my final goal of Heaven. He led me to World Youth Day, where I went for essentially a cool trip, and I found Jesus for the first time. While there I met the man (then not even a priest) who would one day become the Superior of the Franciscans in my city. I also met a young priest who first planted the seed that a vocation to the religious would be an incredible way to give my heart to this Jesus I had just met. Later on when a new order of Franciscans started in my city, I was still discerning religious life, so that same young priest recommend me to the Superior, who invited me to join the community. I gave myself wholeheartedly to the task of learning the Franciscan life, and, against my own will and plan, fell in love with a man as I fell even more in love with Jesus. I had been so convinced of my vocation as a sister, I had a hard time seeing the truth in front of me. I was so afraid that this was my great temptation and I was being led away from my true vocation. The more I prayed the more clear it became. I had seen the hand of the devil at work in my life over the years, and this wasn't it. This was pure and from God. The timing wasn't exactly perfect in the eyes of the world (Why couldn't we have met at World Youth Day? We had both been there together with the same group. I even met his brother!), but God knew what he was doing. He knew we had things we needed to learn. He knew that for the life He had planned for us, we would need years of spiritual training, and a taste for the spiritual beauty of trusting in Providence. Our time with the Franciscans has also given us a spiritual support network we have needed so dearly over our years together. While we may not be a Brother and Sister anymore, in our hearts that community will always be our spiritual home and they will always be our family. (And don't tell the good Father, but I find myself hard pressed to forget my promise of obedience to him, haha)
I know our children are still so young, but when I look back and see what a long road it took to find my vocation, it reminds me to teach them to follow God's voice in their heart. I want to teach them that He knows the best, and to always give of themselves without fear. Just like the Gospel from a few weeks ago, He won't give them a scorpion, but bread, the Bread of Life. I would be incredibly proud if one, two or even all of our children find their vocations in religious life and the priesthood. I would be equally proud if they all get married and find Jesus in the heart of another person. I try not to press them, but to encourage them in whatever their heart is leading them to right now. There is nothing sweeter than my biggest boy playing Mass (with his actual chalice and ciborium gifted to him by his Godfather), telling me about how he's going to be a priest when he's "a man". He may not end up a priest, but I hope he always wants to give his heart and life to Jesus. I will never promise him life will be easy, but that Christ will always be with him, and that there is a plan for him.