I am reading Aquinas and I am puzzled by his view on religious vocation and common view in the Church today (I will for sake of simplicity call it a modern view) about religious vocation.
In On the perfection of spiritual life and in his Summa Theologiae the Angelic Doctor expresses his view on religious vocation (I will for sake of simplicity call it traditional view of religious vocation). I do not mean to start fights about modernism in the Church and all that but I just use these terms because they seem fitting to me. Let me contrast some differences between Aquinas view of religious vocation and modern view of religious vocation. To make things clear, although I dislike the term "religious vocation" let me try to define it.
Religious vocation = some kind of invitation or calling from God to life as diocesan priest or to life in some religious order.
Modern. These are just some statements that seem to be approved and agreed by common opinion in Church today (I do not exclude possibility that I have limited experience of common people and priests and therefore have a wrong picture of what is common opinion today, however, it seems to be that not so small number of people in the Church would agree with these statements).
- One should take long time to discern his religious vocation.
- Life in married state and in a state of religious order or in priesthood are equally good ways to sainthood, you just need to discern which one of these God wants you to take.
- One can know God's will for his particular state of life via prayer and whether he feels peace (or something like that) when he prays or somewhere else.
- Calling to religious vocation typically involves some kind of event where God is manifest or some deep experience of God.
Traditional. These are some statements that would (it seems to me) say 700 years before today be approved and agreed in common opinion of the Church.
- There is no need for long discernment process for religious vocation.
- Marriage is less perfect way of following our Lord, where poverty and celibacy are more perfect and better way.
- One can not know God's will directly and with certainty about one's particular state of life.
- Called to religious vocation are really all who are able to and (without serios and obvious impediments like missing a hand) willing to take it, and typically it does not involve some special feeling or manifestation of God to assure that one ought to take it.
These are just some points that seem to very different to me, so my question is, what are some arguments for both views? Did the Church ever, in her magisterial documents, speak about this? What happened historically that the modern view took its place in common opinion of people and priests today?