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Theology of Religious Vocation

Theology of Religious Vocation

Roman Catholic Books

Regular price $21.95 Sale


Here’s the still-unsurpassed guide to discernment—grounded in the theology of Aquinas.On the question of religious vocation, all are agreed: Acandidate must be called by God. But how God calls,and how one knows He has called, are questions thatreceive widely differing answers. Errors are costly: A“false” vocation can harm both the Church and the manor woman who was not truly called. A vocation“missed” means a life’s full potential unrealized—andperhaps an incalculable loss to souls.

Which is why this book by Fr. Edward Farrell, OP,received such high praise from reviewers, educators andpastors alike when it first appeared in 1952. FatherFarrell’s aims:

1) to lay down “practical, workable principles, asimmediately proximate to action as possible, whichcan be used profitably by confessors and spiritualdirectors in their task of guiding prospectivecandidates for the religious state”; and2) “to order, crystallize, and make explicit a body ofThomistic doctrine on religious vocation.”

In fact, Fr. Farrell succeeded in doing even more: As severalreviewers pointed out, his guidebook was no less indispensable toyoung men and women considering religious life—and theirparents—than to pastors and counselors. The reason? Soundadvice and reliable answers on topics like:


  • Three principal signs of a religious vocation
  • Nine secondary signs
  • Step-by-step, how the candidate should examine hisqualifications and suitability for religious life, and then decide
  • Four “material factors” that establish the suitability of aperson for the religious life
  • What role does individual nature play in the determinationof a vocation? What qualities or characteristics does Godbestow upon His favored children?
  • Two indispensable conditions of divine vocation—and thepersonal habits and dispositions that contribute to them
  • Four basic human qualities that any prospective candidatefor the religious life should have
  • Inward impediments to the religious life—e.g., sensualityand spiritual sloth—and their remedies
  • Six factors that contribute to religious vocation by positivelyinfluencing the exercise of virtues indispensable to it
  • The family’s role in vocation. Dangerous attitudes that“grow like weeds even in the minds of good, Catholicparents,” according to Pope Pius XI
  • The role of priests, and other special influences
  • Guidelines for priests in preaching and counseling aboutvocations
  • Is God’s call something internal, a grace infused into thesoul? Or external, an invitation of a legitimate superior toembrace the religious life?
  • What is the “internal call” St. Thomas speaks of? Justas important: What is it not? Why is it necessary? Howmay it be discerned?
  • St. Thomas’s specific, practical norms on the natureand discernment of vocation
  • Two principles of Thomistic teaching on grace andpredestination that apply specifically to the question ofvocation
  • “Religious vocation” defined with theological precision—stripped of the confusions and ambiguities of popular usage
  • The one statement of Our Lord which contains “an epitomeof Catholic doctrine on the nature of the religious state and itsrelation to the common Christian life”
  • The “virtue of religion”: how it “supplies the power thatcarries the candidate across the threshold of a new life”
  • The “virtue of magnanimity”: how it functions as “thespecial and proper cause of the intensity of the act of devotionwhich is religious vocation”
  • The virtue that will always be found wherever a vigorousreligious life prevails—supplying to religious “the fullness ofheart and courage necessary to keep them plodding along thegreat and difficult road to perfection”
  • Why “greatness” is inseparable from the religious life
  • How the essence of the religious state is found in the vows ofpoverty, chastity and obedience
  • How one can cultivate the seeds of religious vocation

    “As complete a guide as seems possible for judgingreligious vocations....practical...This book should be avaluable aid to directors, an immense help to the youngthemselves.” —Ave Maria (1952)

    “Candidates’ qualifications are treated extensively. Theauthor also singles out the individuals who are the mostimportant instruments in the work of fostering a vocation.”—Catholic Educational Review

    “Analyzes vocation in the light of accepted doctrine onvirtues and their influence on human acts, and is able therebyto arrive at a real definition of religious vocation....From anelaboration of this, the author then evolves workable principlesthat can be used profitably by spiritual directors in guidingprospective candidates for the religious state.”—Dominicana“The author has attempted, and in the opinion of thisreviewer with great success, ‘to order, crystallize, and makeexplicit a body of Thomistic doctrine on religious vocation.’”—The Catholic Educator

    “A valuable aid to directors, animmense help to the young themselves”