A lot of friends have told me this. Nobody though has ever told me i’d be a good boyfriend or husband (except my mom, but no offense parents are supposed to say stuff like that). I mean i’m 23 and I feel like marriage is what i’m called to, but i’ve never had a relationship ever. I know a lot of people probably say this to single guys, but only my mom and one priest I was close with said they didn’t think I should (the priest said I tense up when I mention it, while my mom says that whenever I talk about the priesthood, I make it sound like i’m doing it only because i’m single).
Only God can call you to the priesthood or to marriage for that matter.
What anybody may say to you is beside the point.
BTW, if you have not had a relationship, that only means that so far you have not found the right person.
Shalom, ICXC NIKA
Some people will tell someone that seems particularly religious that they should become a priest or nun. However, that generally seems simply to be an emotional response to such a person. The person himself need to discern whether they have a religious vocation–such a comment, I would think, while given with good will, doesn’t seem helpful in deciding what God wants to do with a person’s whole life.
When it comes to never having had a relationship. many people are in the same boat. You should regularly pray that you find someone good for you, though perhaps you already do.
I’d also add that the priest remark might just be a response to someone who, not being in a relationship, is able to not go crazy about it. That is an uncommon characteristic in our sexuality-crazed society.
FWIW, you shOuld not expect to be told you’d be a good boyfriend or husband. That isn’t something parents tell their kid, and males in your life wouldn’t really be good judges of that. Whereas, if you hear it from a young lady, that would just be a sign that she wasn’t much into you.
Shalom, ICXC NIKA
Hi, benjammin! I agree with other posters that you should follow where your discernment takes you, not the words of others. It sounds that you are one of those people who just seems to have your spiritual side in better order than most you know. I think most individuals are sort of awed by someone like that, recognizing that their own spiritual development is lacking in comparison to yours.
What do you like to do? What have you thought about doing, off and on over the years, but haven’t gotten around to doing? Hobbies? Skills? Course study? Volunteer work? Is there a need you’ve seen in your community that somebody should get the ball rolling toward to solve that need? Move that ball! DO those things, benjammin! Do the things that interest you and you’ll be more likely to find women who enjoy the same pursuits. No fair sticking to reading, TV, or anything else that keeps you housebound! Must be activities that will get you out where you might meet others!
An unmarried guy in his 60s, no less, long resigned to never marrying (so shy he’d seldom asked a girl on a date) started taking his power equipment to forgotten cemeteries, cleaning around the stones, and cleaning the moss and lichen growth from the old stones. After about two years of that he met a woman who was visiting the cemetery to make tracings of the stones of her long-departed ancestors. Long story short: they’re ecstatically happy as man and wife. Bernard says that he should have taken up cemetery sprucing decades ago! He continues to take care of old cemeteries and pray for those whose graves he cleans, while she continues to accumulate stone tracings for a book she’s writing.
If there are no activities for mid-twenties Catholics, talk to your priest about establishing some, from service activities to trivia contests, competitive games, group trips to other cities, and weekly or monthly 20-something meal nights at different restaurants. Organize a pet walk and games event at a park; pets always break the ice. Help to organize parish-wide or community-wide picnic and game days. Visit a gym during the hours girls will likely be working out.
Brainstorm, benjammin, and pray and trust. As time passes you’ll have your answers. Best wishes to you.
People mean well, but as others have said, a true vocation comes from God. When I was in my college years and was trying to discern a vocation, my spiritual director said two things that have always stayed with me:
“The religious life (priesthood), and for that matter the Catholic life is a call through life, not a way out of life.”
“I (he) was ordained in the days before Vatican II. Some of my fellow priests entered the seminary because they felt they were failures at relationships. They were miserable people and miserable priests. Some of the nuns I worked with entered their orders for the same reason. They were miserable people and miserable nuns.”
A main part of the discernment process is to determine your attraction to religious life is for the right reason.
It doesn’t hurt to discuss it in more detail with that priest you are close to and maybe go on a retreat. If that is not your vocation you will figure it out.
I just listened to our Cardinal’s twin sister talk about her brother’s call.
He was “celebrating” Mass since he was in 3rd grade. When other boys requested Tinker Toys or Erector Sets for Christmas, he wanted a statue of the Infant of Prague. Now, not all calls come that early, and that certainly, but a priestly vocation is not something one does as a “fall-back” for a lack of a dating life. I think people just don’t know how to handle someone who is counter-cultural, not doing what everyone else is doing, and so they default to “He’s religious, he’s single, he doesn’t date, he MUST be headed for the priesthood.”
If you feel any calling, see a spiritual director ASAP, pray for clarity, and leave the rest to the Holy Spirit. If you don’t, then just respond to those people with charity, “No, I am not called to the priesthood, I look forward to being a husband and father one day.”
All great suggestions, but here is my issue. First of all I work nights. Typically about 5 to 11 and have a half hour commute. I do weekends as well, so thats out of the picture. I do this so I can substitute teach during the day since I could not get a full time teaching job. So I don’t have much time to meets girls since my time is limited to the daytime, and night time I like to get home and sleep.
Anyway, I also live in a rural area where there isn’t much to do. I’m about an hours drive from larger cities, but even catholic events are on nights that I work so traveling is somewhat out of the picture since I don’t want to take off work (student loans are a pain:mad:)
Also, my church is very small and doesn’t have any young people since we are in a town of 100. There are other towns nearby, but none of them have anything for young people. In fact the only organization really is the knights of columbus, and i don’t really go since our small council has mostly older members and doesn’t do anything much besides get together once a month to go to mass and eat afterwards. Even the larger parishes nearby don’t have young peoples groups, and most people around my age are either married or don’t go to church anymore and wouldn’t be interested in such groups.
As for my hobbies, I don’t have much. I read, I like movies and tv, I love watching sports like football, and like to go on walks and such but I don’t have any outstanding hobbies. I have a dog and love him, but there aren’t really opportunities to take him out where people are. I have friends as well, but they live far away and I don’t really have many in my area.
I know these sound like excuses, but its tough. I know people will tell me to pray, but at this point prayer is just a way to cope with loneliness that is most certainly ahead of me in life. Even if I do get a teaching job, more than likely it will be in a smaller school and unfortunately in most smaller towns girls worth marrying are taken by my age (i’m 23 btw).
You remind me a lot of me when I was younger. I had people tell me that I should think about becoming a nun after I converted at age 20 (actually one was before I even decided to convert!). It really scared me, and for awhile I was terrified that maybe God was calling me to that vocation because I had always pictured myself as a wife and mom and that’s what I still desperately wanted.
If you feel that you are called to marriage, check out avemariasingles.com. That is where my husband and I met. I was 23 and he was 27. (Our success story is David and Briana from 2003.) I didn’t live in a rural area, but I still had a lot of trouble finding potential marriage material. Same for him. I never saw myself signing up for something like Ave Maria, but once I did it didn’t take long to meet him! I found most of the profiles to indicate that the people there are, in general, pretty orthodox.
The fact that you haven’t had a relationship is probably more an indication of the lack of opportunity you have had to meet someone than anything else. It’s possible God is calling you to either vocation - but it’s something you will have to discover through prayer and seeing where God takes you.
I’ll agree with the Mrs. It sounds like you have just not had opportunity to meet anyone.
My personal experience was that I felt like I REALLY wanted to be married, but God was calling me to the Priesthood by keeping women away from me somehow…sort of. (Really long story that can wait for another time.)
Anyway, I could not understand why I could not meet a good Catholic woman…could not find one AT ALL where I was and I felt the Priesthood was my only other option. But I also did not want to just “settle” for Priesthood since it would not be sincere. I begged God to change my heart to desire the Priesthood and remove my desires for marriage.
In the end, when all was said and done, I had finally realized that God did want me to be married afterall. But He knew I was not yet ready…that I was not mature enough spiritually, emotionally, etc…to take the next step to a healthy relationship with a woman. Once I surrendered myself to Him, He was able to sink His Hands into the clay that is “me” and form me how He wanted. For me, it took some time…years…but it was very worth it. Once He had prepared me and I had accepted His Will over my own, He gave me the grace to finally meet that woman of my dreams.
You say that prayer just helps you cope with loneliness. To me, that’s a good sign that He is calling you to marriage (but I wouldn’t rule out anything at this point). Hand yourself over to God…give Him all your desires, and just tell God, “this is what I want, and it’s not happening for me…form me the way You want me…I only want to serve You the way You want to be served by me…” and then let Him work. When you are ready (by His standards, not yours) He will guide you the rest of the way and you WILL come to know “loneliness” as just a memory.
What do you mean with you feel called to marriage? Do you just want a girlfriend or did you actually tried to find out what you are called to. Try the booklet from Ignatius of Loyola, it starts at number 165 about vocation.