have college debts and I feel that the Lord is calling me to
monastic life. What should I do?
As with anyone interested in religious life, it is important to
first pray about it. Then speak to someone such as a
pastor, spiritual director or even a vocation director about the
inner desire or attraction you feel for a life dedicated to God
through the vows. There are a number of ways to alleviate
or work through the debts. First of all consider your own
means. Selling one's assets such as an automobile or other
property is a possibility. Think of the parable of the
Prodigal Son, but in a positive way. If this is truly
God's call for you, and your parents plan on leaving something
for you as an inheritance, asking it from them early so that you
can dedicate yourself to what you believe God is calling you to
is anything but a selfish thing to do. If your parents are
open to this, it could also be a testimony to the degree of
seriousness you give to your discernment.
Another possibility is asking your parish for help.
Sometimes pastors and parishioners understand the needs of the
Church and are very generous in offering aid, especially when it
comes to supporting future clergy or religious from their own
community. There are also a few organizations such as
Ecclesia Mater and the Laboure Society that offer support, aid
and creative ideas for people entering seminaries or religious
communities that have outstanding debts. Other
associations like the Knights of Columbus might be able to offer
some help in this as well.
No matter what, if you feel God is calling you to religious
life, the worst thing to do us put it off. There have been
a number of people who have delayed taking the important steps
in beginning the discernment process because they did not
explore the possibilities available for paying off debts.
If this is God's call for you, it is vital that you don't allow
pride to keep you from asking for help in doing God's
will. The support is available because Christ's Church is
made up of members who are called to support one