The Call

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,
and before you were born I consecrated you;
I appointed you a prophet to the nations.”

~ Jeremiah 1:5

Prayer

It begins and ends with you simply talking to God. It is an indispensable and essential element of our Christian life. For only in prayer do we come to understand the true calling of God’s will in our lives. Prayer has many different forms, and often many different ways of doing it, but in essence it is a way of connecting your soul with that of God.

Here are some tips on how to improve your prayer life

Pray Daily

Start with developing a habit of praying daily. A rosary, a devotional or simply reading the Gospel is a great start.

Adoration

Go and spend time with the Lord in adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. Do it at least once a week.

Silence is key

Allow silence in your prayer so that you can hear what God is telling you. Set aside the preoccupations of the world and listen to God in silence.

Converse & Listen

Remember prayer is a conversation and a way to conversion. Ask, listen and more importantly – follow.

Guide to Prayer

If you need some more guidance on how to pray – click HERE

Discerning Your Call

 

How to know your call

  • PRAY DAILY

    Develop a daily prayer life. Only in prayer do we get to know God’s will for our lives. Consider starting a devotional like praying the Rosary, Novenas, or Lectio Divina. Make sure you leave some time for silence as well.

  • SPIRITUAL DIRECTION

    Lets face it, we tend to agree with ourselves. This is why we need to have someone accompany us in our discernment. A spiritual director will help guide you in understanding the movements of the Holy Spirit in your journey. They will help unravel what is going on with your discernment by giving you an outside point-of-view. Spiritual directors can be a priest, or a religious. You can have a qualified lay person to direct you but this is not advisable since you also need the perspective of someone who is living the life you are aspiring to be.

  • FREQUENT CONFESSION

    We need constant renewal in the grace of God. Going to the sacrament of confession allows us to look deeply into our lives and see where we are lacking and where we can grow. This is especially true when you are discerning since it teaches us humility before God. It is recommended to go at least once every 2 – 3 weeks.

  • STIRRING OF YOUR HEART

    Listen to what your heart is telling you. Affective prayer, which is an essential part of Franciscan Spiritually, helps us to raise our heart to God. Sometimes we are too preoccupied with intellectualizing our discernment that we forget the movements of the Holy Spirit in our hearts. Listen to it. Listen to how God is moving your heart.

  • DRAWN TO A CHARISM

    We are all called to be part of the body, and as such we are given specific gifts as how to live and glorify the kingdom of God. Each vocation, especially the Religious, are given a specific gift called Charisms. They define who and what the Order does. St. Francis’ charism of poverty and living the Gospel is what defines the Franciscan movement. You should take time to know where you are drawn to, what God wants you to do for His kingdom, and then seek the group or Order that live that charism.

  • YOUR LIFE JOURNEY

    Pay attention to your own life journey. As in Jeremiah – God has already foreknown what He wanted for your life – and He has guided you from your birth up to now. Look back and reflect on those signs as they will also point to where He wants you to go. It should also be said that we should not completely base our discernment on ‘looking for signs’ because we often want to see the signs we want to see and miss the signs God is giving us. Lastly, focus your life to this aspiration and live the Catholic faith to the fullest. Avoid vices and earthly distractions to the best that you can. Live the life you are striving to live.

Obstacles to Discernment

  • OUR OWN FEARS

    Our own fears about the ‘call’ can hinder us from completely being open to the movements of the Holy Spirit. This fear leads to doubts, anxieties and often will cause us to run away or set aside the call.

  • OUR OWN CONTROL

    To discern is to have the humility to let go. This includes the idea that we are in control of everything. Two things that can happen if we try to be in control: We lead our discernment to where we think ‘it should go’ – meaning we try to shape the outcome of our discernment rather than letting the Holy Spirit unfold it for us. Second, we try to control everything around us, whether for or against the discernment, because we are afraid of not being in control of our lives or destiny.

  • NOT TAKING THE STEP

    We call this the Order of Perpetual Discerners. There are many who take the initial step to discern but somehow cannot find it in themselves to take the final plunge. Some are afraid that they may not be ‘in the right place’, while others are simply afraid of the unknown. They continue to endlessly discern with the expectations that one day it will all be revealed in full clarity as to what they needed to do. The uncertainty is part of the trust you must place in God as Jesus Himself is calling you from the wilderness (Mk 1:3)

  • OUR OWN ATTACHMENTS

    There is a Franciscan saying which embodies a big part of St. Francis’ spirituality – Sine Proprio’ – meaning nothing of one’s own. This a radical call to let go of all things. Whether it is material and worldly goods, prestige and honors, your job or potential to make something big in your career, desires for the world or family, even your own sin. Do not let these attachments hold you down because God has promised you even more if you follow him. To say yes  is to let go. Let the example of our Blessed Virgin Mary be the model of your yes: let it be done unto me according to your will.

  • FEELING OF UNWORTHINESS

    We are all sinners. We are often times incapable. We all have doubts about why God is calling us. Yet, He is still calling you! Do not let this feeling of unworthiness or incapability be a reason not to answer the call. God equips those that He calls. He will not let you take this journey alone, but promises to walk with you every step of the way. You are the sheep that the Shepherd left the 99 others for because he know your worth more that you can ever imagine (Lk 15:3-7). Think how the apostles abandoned Jesus in his final hours, or how St. Paul persecuted the early Christians – yet they became the pillars of our faith.

  • DISCOURAGEMENT FROM OTHERS

    Perhaps one of the hardest obstacles is not having the support you need in your discernment. There are times when our friends simply do not understand. They think this is the end of your life! Even more discouraging when your own parents and family members do not support what you are doing. “But who is going to give us grandkids?” or “Why did you go to all the schooling only to throw it all away for this..” These can be very painful words to hear especially from those who are dear to you. You must pray for their own conversion so that they can accept your calling as you do. Your yes is not simply saying yes to a job, but to a life of giving to others, which in essence is saying yes to God’s family.

Indicators that you may be called to Religious Life or Priesthood

Learn More

Indicators that you may be called to Religious life or Priesthood

  • Strong attraction/desire to radically give your life to God and to the Church
  • Strong attraction to deep prayer/ sacramental life of the Church
  • Sense that earthly existence is not enough for you. You are drawn to something “more.” There’s something more to life than just what I’m doing.
  • A persistent prodding of the Holy Spirit. Thought of becoming a religious continues to come back to your mind again and again.
  • Looking for something beyond marriage.
  • You feel called to give your life to many, not just one.
  • Desire to help in the salvation of souls.
  • Attraction to the mysteries of religious life.
  • Having the capacity or desire to live a life long grace of celibacy.
  • Having joy, peace and clarity in the idea of being a Religious or Priest.
  • Having the feeling of being fulfilled and fully alive in the idea of giving yourself completely to God.

 

The Lay Brother Vocation

Who are you? I am a Capuchin Brother!

The Capuchin lay brother has always been admired within the Order. They are often referred to as the guardians of the charism of the Order. It is in their humble service to the fraternity that allows us to reflect who we are as brothers of St. Francis and of Christ. They embody the life of both a Martha and Mary (Lk 10:38-41)  exemplifying the Capuchin life of penance, contemplative prayer and apostolic ministry.

 

It is often mistaken that the vocation of a lay brother is somewhat incomplete. You would often hear words like, “why don’t you go all the way and be a priest” or  “he chose to remain a lay brother” or better yet, “he is just a lay brother”. These words not only betray St. Francis’ call that all of us be brothers but even more so minimizes God’s own call for the gift of his complete vocation. A brother’s consecration to God and his religious life is what makes his vocation complete. Since it’s founding in the early 16th century, the Capuchins have resisted the idea of separation between the clerics and the lay brothers. The value of the brother is not within his position or title, but in the life he is giving to animate the charism of the Capuchins in his community.

The life of a Brother

It is worth noting that more than half of our Capuchin Saints are lay brothers. They lived their holiness in the simplicity of their calling; humbly working as porters (door keepers) of the friary, infirmarian for the sick  or questor (beggars) of the Order. The freedom from sacramental ministry allowed these brothers to tend directly to those they encounter daily, whether in the streets, at the hospital, the entrance of the church or simply in front of the friary door. Their selfless giving, openly lending a hand, an ear and heart is what makes them so close to the people. Today, lay brothers are able to bring their own personal experiences from the world, whether professional or trade, to further the mission and work of the Order towards the marginalized. We have brothers that are doctors, nurses, mechanics, teachers, dentists, psychologist, social-workers, carpenters, farmers, tailors, cooks, administrators, tech-savvy creators, designers, social-media gurus, chaplains, missionaries, retreat masters, preachers and many more serving all around the world.

 

If you are called to live a consecrated life but not necessarily feel called to the priesthood, consider being a consecrated lay brother – be a Capuchin brother!

Capuchin Lay Brother Saints

 

 

St. Felix of Cantalice

1515-1587

 

 

St. Seraphin of Montegranaro

1540-1604

 

 

St. Bernard of Corleone

1605-1667

 

 

St. Crispin of Viterbo

1668-1750

 

 

St. Ignatius of Laconi

1701-1781

 

 

St. Felix of Nicosia

1715-1787

 

 

St. Francis Mary of Camporosso

1804-1866

 

 

St. Conrad of Parzham

1818-1894

The Ordained Brother

“My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord..”

Some brothers, by the grace of God, are further called into becoming priests for the Church. He may discern this calling along his journey or know from the beginning that this is where God is leading him to be. It is often referred to as a vocation within a vocation. A Capuchin priest’s primary calling is to the life laid forth by the example of St. Francis, to live the Gospel as a brother to all. This makes him different, in a sense, to his Diocesan brother priest, in such that his sacramental ministry is rooted first in his identity as a Capuchin Franciscan – a contemplative prayer life, in simplicity and fraternity.

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“For I have come to serve not to be served…”

Unique in that a Capuchin priest’s sacramental ministry is not only focused on the pastoral needs of a parish, but more so to bring the sacraments into the fringes of our society, especially the marginalized. This allows him to serve the Church in a much varied way. Some of the ministries our brother priests are involved in:

 

  • Chaplaincy in prisons, jails and hospitals
  • Missionary work in poorly served areas and dioceses
  • Itinerant Preaching
  • Retreat masters
  • Teaching and campus ministry
  • Young adult and youth ministry
  • Confessors and Spiritual Directors

Capuchin Ordained Brother Saints

 

 

St. Francis of Assisi

1182 – 1226

 

 

St. Joseph of Leonessa

1556 – 1612

 

 

St. Lawrence of Brindisi

1559 – 1619

 

Doctor of the Church

 

 

St. Fidelis of Sigmaringen

1578 – 1622

 

Protomartyr of the Congregation for the Propagation of Faith

 

 

St. Angelus of Acri

1669 – 1739

 

 

St. Ignatius of Santhia

1686 – 1770

 

 

St. Leopold Mandić of Castelnovo

1866 – 1942

 

 

St. Pio of Pietrelcina

1887 – 1968

Vocation Inquiry

If you are interested in further exploring your vocation with the Capuchin Franciscan Order we invite you to contact our Vocations team.

 

P.O. Box 618

Solvang, CA 93464-0618

Phone: (805) 686-4127

Vocations Inquiry
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