What Ought to be the Purpose?

As some of you may know, I have been trying to discern what God is calling my next steps to be in life.

Atticus and I are trying to conceive, and with many prayers and God’s grace, we will soon.

Recently I have felt drawn to the idea of social work. It’s something I considered in college briefly, but abandoned because of the horror stories I heard of burnout, low pay and other trials that come with traditional social work atmosphere.

However, there is a lot more to social work than administering food stamps and taking people’s children away. Most counseling is done by social workers. This appeals to me. I had a taste of counseling working at the Crisis Pregnancy Center, helping women discuss their options and helping them set goals for how to keep their pregnancies.

It was such a wonderful experience to have. As a counselor, most of what you do is listening to other people, and offering suggestions for setting goals to improve situations and treat things like depression and family problems.

All of this is by way of saying that IUPUI has an excellently ranked school of social work, which I am contemplating entering for an MSW. I wouldn’t be able to enter the program until fall 2010, so I have a lot of time to discern if this is what God is calling me to.

I have also noticed that there is a lack of faithful Catholics who have been trained with the clinical skills to be good marriage and family counselors. What I mean, is that there seem to be few marriage and family counselors who are faithful to the Magisterium, and would not advise their clients to violate the moral law as it regards marriage and sexuality.

There is one such institute I am acquainted with, Pastoral Solutions Institute, which offers several books on improving marriage, raising strong families, and dealing with life’s hardships. One of these is Holy Sex! A Catholic Guide to Toe-Curling, Mind Blowing, Infallible Loving by Dr. Gregory Popcak, director of the institute. Eric and I received this book as a wedding gift, and it has been so wonderful in explaining the intragal role of true, life-giving sexuality in marriage. I highly recommend it for all Catholic couples.

All of the books written are intended for Catholics who want to improve their marriages and families while remaining faithful to the truth of the human person and it’s dignity.

I see the lack of other such counselors as a real deficit, as the majority of marriage counselors will advocate the use of things which violate the dignity of marriage and of the marriage partners (such as mastrubation, pornography, fantasies about people other than the spouse, etc.), all in the name of supposedly making the marriage stronger.

The dignity of marriage is being attacked on many fronts in our culture, and it would appear even those who are seeking help to save their marriages are trying to be persuaded to engage in behaviors that, along with indulging our sinful impulses, degrades both spouses and create an atmosphere of exploitation and use for personal pleasure, rather than the self-giving love that gives rise to authentic freedom.

And Satan loves all of this — for what else does evil ever tell us other than that all of our desires are good and should be acted upon. That everything we want is acceptable and the dignity and feelings of others are expendable in the pursuit of our own pleasure.

I realize I’ve gone on a bit of a tirade here; but all of this is by way of saying that we need more faithful Catholic counselors, and that God may just be calling me to become one.

Prayers for discernment and clarity of God’s will are of course appreciated!

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  • http://www.rebecca-feelmylove.blogspot.com Rebecca

    I agree – that there need to be more faithful Catholic counselors. My hubs and I are blessed with a marriage of God and an open communication style that I suspect is very rare ‘these days’.

    When we were married, we choose to renew our baptismal promises (mine from birth, my hubs from adulthood through RCIA) as a symbol of our acknowledgment of marriage as a sacrament and that our marriage would be blessed by God.

    We entered into our marriage as a forever marriage. The d word is not an option and is not permitted in our conversations. It’s amazing what you can accomplish when you are committed to each other and to the marriage.

    All this to say – YES, I think there need to be many more counselors out there who will work with couples from this stand point – not every marriage will last, but every marriage deserves an honest attempt and honest counsel from those they seek out.