A hopeless cause

I am posted on these forums only a couple of times, and usually only because I am confused in my life. I was discerning the Priesthood from 2010-2013 and finally decided that since there was so much confusion on should or should not, that I decided to leave it into the hands of God. A priest told me that I should date for a little while and see what happens because he feared that because of my parents divorce, I might be inwardly running from marriage.

A year ago, I met an amazing women that I have fallen for and would like to marry. Seems easy right? Marry her. The only problem is that I still get thoughts of the Priesthood and religious life and I don’t know if its because of my current situation or what. I graduated college in August, I have $78000 worth of student loan debt, I have applied to literally hundreds of jobs and I have only had three interviews, all of which never called me back. I want to marry this women, but with no job opportunity and all this debt I am literally being crushed in despair and I feel hopeless. We both have asked the question if God is keeping me from getting a job because he wants me to be a Priest. At first I said ‘God wouldn’t do that’, but now I don’t know.

My desire for the Priesthood is no longer there, my desire is to marry this women, but I don’t know what to do with these thoughts, I don’t know what to make of all this and I asked my parish priest and he told me not to worry about them; that he feels God is calling me to marriage not the Priesthood.

I don’t make enough money to afford an apartment (been staying at a buddies for the past six months), let alone pay these student loans. I know that theologically speaking, God does not punish us, rather we punish ourselves by our own sin, but why won’t God hear my prayer? Why won’t he help me? I’ve begged him non-stop for the past three months for help and yet I receive nothing but silence. The only blessings I have in my life are: 1) a good friend, 2) an amazing girlfriend and 3) my Master’s program online at Steubenville. Yet, these don’t help me deal with this problem and it weighs my soul.

You have a lot going for you.

I would encourage you to start looking into personal finance books and see if anybody in your family would be interested in scholarshiping you for a personal finance course. St. Vincent de Paul does personal finance counseling as a charity, I believe, and Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University costs around $100. I am not familiar with St. Vincent de Paul, but I have been through FPU, and it’s quite good (it’s currently 9 weeks). Not only do you have the content, but you also have the experience of a support group of other people who are trying to improve their finances. DR also has a popular radio show, which you may find inspiring, and your public library probably has his book The Total Money Makeover. Plus there’s lots of stuff on his site. Here’s something to start you off:


I am very hopeful for you and your girlfriend.

Good luck!

Adam, this is fortunately not a hopeless situation at all. Your debt is high, but it’s not insurmountable. If you get married and you have two incomes, you can pay that off pretty quickly. God’s also not punishing you for not being a priest. That isn’t how this works.

As to the priesthood: When you say you were discerning for three years, what does that mean? Did you ever just enter seminary?

I would recommend reading Fr. Richard Butler, OP’s book, “Religious Vocation: An Unnecessary Mystery.” However, judging from your comments above, it sounds like you just want to get married. Marriage is a sacrament. It isn’t a second-rate Christian life. The vocations are different in many respects, but there’s a good deal of cross-over between marriage and holy orders/religious life. It’s all about saying yes to God and being open to grace, to becoming a saint. If you get married, be the best husband you can be. It sounds like that’s where your heart is.

As to finding a job: pray especially to St. Jude and St. Joseph. The former is a powerful intercessor for those in seemingly hopeless situations, the latter for those seeking to provide for their families. Those saints have prayed for people in far worse situations than you and those saints have wrought miracles by the grace of God for people in worse situations. Relax, realize anxiety is the work of the enemy, while peace is a fruit of the Spirit, and trust God’s providence.

Does the university you attended have a Career Counseling Center? Some help after graduation to place graduates.

Also, there are employment agencies. Had you tried any of those?

As to discernment with marriage or the priesthood, if you have a wonderful girlfriend, you seem to be leaning towards marriage.

There is actually a spectrum. You can serve God in marriage, one thing. Secondly, there are many options where one can be very active in the Church, in additional to the priesthood. There is the diaconate. There are third orders.

I know right now things seem really dark and bleak, but I am hoping that this can turn around. I believe it can.

Anyway, good luck with whatever you decide and try.

God bless!

One can even serve God in secular positions. I used to volunteer at Goodwill, tutoring English as a Second Language. Here in Mexico, I volunteer at a blind association, again, teaching ESL, and also reading to someone who doesn’t have his books in braille.

At San Felipe, it is a religious place, but again, I am working with the blind, primarily. My position isn’t religious, per se.

So, again, there is a range. I would hate to see you feel that you are without options and choices, because I don’t believe that to be at all the case.

I totally agree with this post, Adam. There are many different ways to serve the Lord.

If you decide to choose marriage, you can still serve the Church in many different capacities if you want to, if you feel called to do something like that.

I am married, and that is what I did. I volunteered for many years, in two different parishes, at different times. It was very satisfying for me.

If you have $78,000 worth of debt, that will prevent you from being ordained and possibly from even being allowed into seminary.

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