I recently purchased a reprint of an old book, Vocations, by Fr. William Doyle, S.J. I believe it was Dr. Peter Kwasniewksi who helped bring it back into print, and I tend to trust his reading recommendations. He was surely correct in promoting this small book!
With only 48 pages, this book yet has something for just about any Catholic in it — all presented with clarity and brevity. (It does employ some older idioms and the thee/thy/hath/findeth register of the English language when quoting Scripture and a few other works, and this may prove more difficult for some younger folks today. But I think most will be able to work through it.)
FOR PARENTS: This book will convict you of the importance of your child’s vocational choice and help you to guide him or her in it, avoiding some of the pitfalls – even well-meaning, but ultimately disastrous ones – that seemingly so many parents fall into.
FOR PRIESTS: This book will help you in the crucial pastoral work of recognizing, encouraging, promoting, and otherwise fostering vocations. The clarity and brevity which I mentioned will especially be helpful for remembering key points to share in spiritual direction and confession.
FOR PRIESTS WHO HAVE HAD OR ARE HAVING DOUBTS: Many priests experience a vocational crisis at some point – a moment of testing that can shake a man to his core. Some end up leaving the priestly state. The few pages that deal with this will bring abundant consolation. (See also the book In Sinu Iesu that I mention in this post.)
FOR RELIGIOUS: The trials of religious life are also numerous and there is much in this book to reassure you that the choice you have made, responding to the Lord’s invitation, is the surest way of saving your soul and leading others to heaven besides.
FOR YOUNG MEN WHO PERCEIVE A POSSIBLE CALL: Many struggle today to take the “leap” of leaving the world behind and going to seminary — especially those who hear a vocation after starting a career (as was the case with me). Some continue to wait for more signs: I have often joked that they wait for “the Archangel Gabriel” to come and tell them about their calling — but even then, they might doubt. This book handily deals with these sorts of matters.
FOR YOUNG WOMEN: A few key anecdotes and quotations from the saints will help you to overcome much of the worldly so-called wisdom that would take you off the path that our Lord has laid out for you — either for a time or for the rest of your life.
FOR SEMINARIANS: You often have the chance to influence other young people in answering God’s call: this book will not only affirm you in the path you have started on but also help you to know better how to help your peers and other youth in responding likewise.
FOR THOSE WHO HAVE LEFT SEMINARY OR RELIGIOUS LIFE, BUT STILL WONDER IF THEY ARE CALLED: This book will also help — with many helpful anecdotes about those saints in the past who had to “give several goes” at pursuing the seminary or religious life, that experience having been part of their own testing by God.
As you can see — and there is more that I could summarize — this little book, in just 48 pages, contains much wisdom. For some, it could be the best $7 you ever spent. If you’re in my parish, I’m happy to give you a copy for free.
[I did note a number of typographical errors in reading it, and have notified the editor accordingly, so that hopefully those can be adjusted in time for the new orders that come in. In any case, none of them will truly impede the ability of most readers to understand.]