Q. I’m about to graduate from college and I still don’t really know what I want to do. I’ve been thinking about the priesthood off and on for a few years, but I’m not sure that’s really for me. What do you think I should do?
A. I think you should pray!
Yes, prayer is the answer to all questions in life, big and small. Prayer is our lifeline to God, the way we let God lead us, and the way God pours forth His strength upon us. So prayer is definitely the answer. But let me offer some additional thoughts regarding what to incorporate into your prayer.
First of all, regarding the life decision of a vocation, there is a very specific way to pray. You see, God does have a plan for every one of us. It’s a perfect plan by which we can cooperate with His will and be an incredible instrument for good in the world. But praying about our vocation is best done in a very special way. And Mary, our Blessed Mother, is the perfect model for the way we need to pray.
Our Blessed Mother had a unique and special calling from God. She was to become the Mother of the Son of God. On one level, this is a privilege beyond compare. On another level, it could have been overwhelming and too much for one person to handle and embrace. But she never let it overwhelm her. Instead, she embraced this calling in the perfect way and therefore became the perfect model for us in prayer, especially regarding our vocation in life.
The key to our Blessed Mother’s prayer is her “Yes” to God. It’s interesting that, when the angel Gabriel appeared to her, she wasn’t really even asked if she would say yes. Instead, the angel told her that she would conceive and bear a son and He would be called the Son of the Most High. She asked how this would happen and was told it would be by the power of the Holy Spirit. Then she simply responded, “May it be done to me according to your word” (Luke 1:38).
What’s important to note here is that this was not the first time Mary said yes to God. Rather, this response, “May it be done to me…” was her prayer throughout her life. From her childhood until her Assumption, she continually said yes to God. That’s why the angel didn’t have to wait for her response before saying that she would conceive the Son of the Most High. She had already said yes to God, over and over again, throughout her life.
This is the best way to pray about any vocation. I’d encourage you to imitate this prayer by saying yes to God, today, regarding whatever God has in mind for you. Tell God, in prayer, that whatever His will is, the answer is yes. Tell God the answer is yes even before you know what His will is. This approach is very freeing! What’s left is simply to discern what God is saying to you. For that, you simply need to wait until He gently reveals His will more each and every day. And if you say yes today, His will for you will become clearer.
Too often we can approach life with the question, “What do I want to do?” This is not the right approach. If we simply tell God that we want His will and our answer to that will is yes, we will find that His plan can more easily take hold of our lives and lead us to what is best for us and others.