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"fallback" vocations


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I would truly wonder if a "fallback vocation" in the manner that it is commonly construed can actually exist. I've known men who have considered becoming deacons or brothers after washing out of seminary--and then realizing why they washed out of seminary. The criterion becomes not serving God as He desires, but only in serving God as a priest, even if they can only get into what they might see as a quasi-priestly function. I don't know whatever became of those men, but if their motivation was so glaringly obvious to me, one can certainly bet that it was so to their formators as well.

Thoughts like this have come to my mind as well on occasion. On writing a letter of interest to a clerical society about considering their seminary, I received a letter back informing me that I was past their age cut-off, but inviting me to discern life as a brother (or brother-esque type person through them) with them. I considered this for a time, but eventually came to the conclusion that any interest I might show there is not due to an interest in the vocation to brotherhood itself, but due to a strong affinity for the priesthood. Thus I was likely thinking the same way as the men I described above, and had to step back and see that this wouldn't really be a benefit to me, because I was not interested in what was offered to me for its own good, but rather as a backdoor way to become a quasi-priest. I really doubt that I'd have made it a year with them, and probably would have eventually made it the long way home frustrated, tormented, and ashamed. If the thought of a certain state of life--in itself, bear in mind, not as a means to an end--does not bring on a state of consolation, it's probably a good idea to re-evaluate why it's under consideration.

This is of course not to deny that someone might go through a novitiate or suchlike and then realize while they are there that they are truly being called elsewhere, or to be dismissed and to let it go and then find their true calling elsewhere after embracing it wholeheartedly on its own merits, but that's not really a "fallback," but more of a providential surprise, the likes of which are perhaps a little more common than we might think.

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