Discovering Happiness and Fulfillment in Your Catholic Vocation

Jonathan Doyle Speaking Infront of Hundreds of Catholic Educators

Welcome to the Catholic Teacher Daily Podcast, where we explore the intersection of Catholic vocation and happiness. Join Jonathan Doyle as he reflects on the challenges of finding joy in our vocational journey. Through personal anecdotes and insights from Sister Mary David, discover how to navigate the complexities of Catholic education while seeking fulfillment in God’s will. Tune in for practical wisdom and encouragement on finding joy in the midst of life’s challenges.

Listen on:
Table of Contents
    Add a header to begin generating the table of contents

    Welcome Aboard: Finding Encouragement in Divine Providence

    Jonathan Doyle with Catholic Educators
    Jonathan Doyle with Catholic Educators

    Hey everybody, Jonathan Doyle is with you once again. Welcome aboard to the Catholic Teacher Daily Podcast. I am pleased you are here. I’ve had some lovely feedback this week. I’ve had some really lovely messages on Instagram and in different places from people who’ve heard the podcast. God is just so good. He just reaches us when we really need it.

    I’ve got a beautiful message that I’ve received from one person who is facing a really difficult time in their Catholic education vocation. And they just happened to be listening to the podcast yesterday. It was a real encouragement for them. I just love the fact that God’s in control of the cosmos. That he is organizing all the different events of our lives for our benefit. It doesn’t always feel like that, though. Does it? I don’t know. You live long enough, and you start to think, Oh, I was going to go broke and have things a little differently.

    Consultancy Work and Global Impact

    Friends, please make sure you’ve subscribed to this humble little podcast. If you’re a regular, I’d love it. If you could hit that subscribe button, leave a review. Everything else you need to know is on the website:

    Some other cool news: we’re about to launch, in a few weeks, a major new website around the consultancy work that we do. We’ve been really privileged to start doing a lot of top-level consultancy work for archdioceses, dioceses, and Catholic education around the world. It’s a lot of fun. It’s a real privilege to sit with lots of really interesting people, including bishops, leaders, teachers, and parents, and just really look at how we can go about doing what we do even better. I really enjoy that work. So I pinch myself sometimes. I get to travel and just meet really interesting people. I’m excited about that, and we’ll keep you posted on it. 

    Embracing the Challenges of Vocation in Catholic Education

    Friends, just a short one for me today. As I often do, I want to talk about the challenges of this vocation. This whole concept of vocation—this idea that we are involved in something qualitatively different from the concept of just doing a job—shows that there’s something else really remarkable about what it is that we’re doing.

    So here is a short quote from this beautiful book that I am reading by Sister Mary David, “The Collected Writings of Sister Mary David.” Who as you may remember, was part of the contemplative Catholic community in St. Cecilia’s Abbey on the Isle of Wight. We actually got to go to the olive water a few years ago, which was fantastic. It’s a beautiful book called “The Joy of God,” and as I mentioned recently in the show, she’s just one of those people who just has that depth, that spiritual depth. But let me share this with you, she just says this,

    “If God created us and called us for his glory, there can be no real conflict between our vocation and fulfillment. Between God's will, God's program for us, and our interests. We are sometimes tempted to think, especially in times of discouragement, that our happiness lies one way and God's will another, or that God's will sometimes demands the sacrifice of our happiness.”

    I don’t know if you’re anything like me, I just find there is a great deal to that. And I spent many years struggling with the idea that whatever God’s plan for me was, it wasn’t going to be my preference. I really remember a long season in my own life where that was a very real thing. I don’t know how common this is but I think a lot of us sometimes have a powerful sort of experience of conversion in our late teens and twenties.

    We are often really on fire for God and for serving God, and that’s a really good thing. And at least, the way that I came across this kind of embedded assumption that if you are really serious about God and you’re single and you’re young, then you discern. Maybe you called us some from a religious life, and it’s a good thing too. But for me, given my particular psychology and my particular history, it was somewhat problematic.

    A Personal Reflection: Catholic Educator's Path to Religious Life

    Jonathan Doyle During His Catholic Teacher Daily Podcast
    Jonathan Doyle during his Catholic Teacher Daily Podcast

    I had a real contemplative streak and a real love of silence and prayer. I ended up in a monastery. The only problem with being in that monastery was that I had simultaneously met Karen. All I could think about in the monastery was Karen. Awkward, and then so I went through this long process, kind of 18 months, two years, where I just got myself conflicted and tied up in knots with this really bad theology and bad pastoral theology.

    I look back, and I wish I’d had somebody really good to guide me through that, because I was convinced that if I really loved God, then I would have to do something that I really didn’t want to do. It was very complex because I loved the silence and the contemplation, but I also loved Karen, and you could see the tension there.

    What I’m sharing with you is that, given my family background, it was hard for me to believe that God is really good and wants the best for us. Some of us really struggle with that for complex reasons. And so you put those two things together, and you get a kind of personal theology where you have to do the right thing, even if it’s the thing you really don’t want to do. You sort of think that God’s sitting there just, like an angry parent making you do something. I don’t know how relevant that is for some of you, but that’s really where I was for a long time. That’s why I think this quote is so beautiful because she says there’s no real conflict. Between our vocation and fulfillment, between God’s will, God’s program for us, and our interests.

    A Catholic Educator's Struggle: Balancing God's Will and Personal Happiness

    Balance Scale Silhouette in Soothing Sky

    We are sometimes tempted to think, she says, especially in times of discouragement, that our happiness lies one way and God’s will another, or that God’s will sometimes demands the sacrifice of our happiness. I am really curious. I don’t know if you think about this, but do you ever find your vocation hard and ask yourself? Wouldn’t it be much easier if I was doing exactly what God wanted?

    So I said on the podcast recently that we’ve got three teenagers at the moment, and our business life and our business commitments are extremely complex. They are global; we have staff all over the world. Just managing three teenagers—as I said, it’s quite a thing. And so our lives—my life at the moment, especially for the introverted contemplative that I am—are just this blur of activity. So I’ve been on this journey recently; this is really a challenging season. Like you, did you have a bond to the idea that if you were doing God’s will, it would somehow be much easier? 

    Faith Amidst Adversity: Lessons from Catholic Educators

    Catholic Cross and Ash on White Background

    I know I’m just speaking to myself here, but what a bishop, a great spiritual director, taught me sort of many years ago was that the task that’s in front of us in any given moment is simply to find Christ in the midst of where we actually are. So many of the great saints often found Christ or had to find Christ in times of extraordinary suffering.

    People have found Christ in concentration camps and gulags. I’m not saying that your school is like a concentration camp. That was not my intention. Some of you guys say, “But it feels like it sometimes.” So I think we need to take some encouragement here from God. If he calls us to the vocation of Catholic education and knows what he is doing. If he knew what he was doing, then he must have created a way for us to find joy and happiness there.

    And there’s some mystery here, and maybe you guys can help me out. Maybe you can send me a DM on Instagram: @JDoylespeaks, or email me through the website: And let me know what you think. 

    Seeking Joy: Encouraging Reflections on Catholic Education

    Joy Sign With Sky Background

    Do you find it hard sometimes to find joy and happiness in your vocational life? Do you sometimes feel like this is hard? This is really hard, and how do we find Christ in that? And I replied to somebody today with a quote from Teresa of Avila that’s always had a big impact on me. Teresa of Avila said,

    “It is in the times of greatest aridity and disenchantment that God's true lovers are born.”

    I guess it’s really easy to love God and to sing his praise when life is absolutely dialed in and everything’s working. But I wonder if there’s something richer in loving God and seeking God. When you really find it hard, the work is hard, and the harvest seems a long way away.

    So I’m desperately trying to save this podcast from being sponsored by Prozac. ’cause I don’t want it to sound negative because it’s not. I think as we journey along in the spiritual life, we put away milk, and we move on to solid foods. Don’t we? We move on to some of the deeper questions and experiences. I take comfort from Sister Mary David’s words here: if God called us, he’s not going to sacrifice our happiness on the altar of our vacation.

    What we’ve got to do is press into him, press into a relationship with him. Look for where he is calling us to joy and happiness. What I’m doing lately, friends, is just asking for it. I’m just constantly saying, Lord, Holy Spirit, particularly calling on the Holy Spirit, help me to be joyful, help me to find joy, even when I don’t feel joyful, help me to find that at the moment. I want to find those occasions and moments—little moments in the day.

    Stay Connected in Your Catholic Journey

    Jonathan Doyle Global Speaker, Author, Consultant and Mentor
    Jonathan Doyle Global Speaker, Author, Consultant and Mentor

    Alright, this is the part where I stop. I get excited and keep talking forever, but God bless you, my friends. Just know that I often pray for you. And I pray for everybody listening that the spirit will guide and direct us. Keep us close to Christ and close to the church that he founded. Keep us close to his mother.

    Please make sure you’re subscribed. If you’re on Instagram, you can find me at @jdoylespeaks. If you’ve got your phone nearby, just do an Instagram search for jdoylespeaks, one word. Come and say hi, and everything else is on the website. Book me in to speak anywhere in the world:

    God bless you. My friends, I hope this has been a blessing to you. My name is Jonathan Doyle, and you and I are going to talk again tomorrow. 

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    Jonathan Doyle


    I’m on a mission to liberate the potential of the incredible people that make up your organisation, school, or business.

    Recent Posts