Advice needed


#1

If you will, please offer me some much-needed advice. Here is a bit of a background of my need of advice:
I was confirmed in the Catholic faith this Easter, and am the only Catholic in my entire family and the only churchgoer in my immediate family. While I am only a senior in high school, soon to graduate, I have felt a strong desire (maybe pull, I don’t know) to ministry even when I was very young (As young as 8, if I remember correctly) and in the Southern Baptist church of my upbringing. After attending Mass for the first time last year, the desire for ministry became much stronger, compounded by a strong desire for the Eucharist (which I found myself believing in its entirety even after my first Mass). However, I recently (almost a year ago), became involved in a relationship with a very … sheltered? … non-denominational Christian girl. It may be because this is my first relationship, or it may be her reaction (to be mentioned later), or even a calling from God to marriage, but my former desire for ministry has come into doubt in favor of possible marriage in the distant future (post-college). Every time I mention priestly vocations, she starts acting very frightened, which only makes me doubt more. I’ve prayed numerous times for clarity, and have determined to, when certain of a path, to follow said path to its end. But, to be perfectly honest,I am slightly afraid of both. I am a horrible sinner, and end up making the same mistakes the day after confession that led me to the sacrament in the first place, even though I am torn with regret each time. Old habits (which formed during my rebellious atheist days – two years’ worth) die hard, I suppose. If I go the path of the priesthood, I have to let go of my girlfriend. If I go the path of marriage, I have to let go of the ministry. I don’t know what to do. Even though there are conflicting desires for both, I cannot justify myself, knowing my flaws, in either. (I understand that the Sacraments are not reliant upon the priest’s own sanctity, but still . . .) Thank you.


#2

Hi. May the Holy Spirit protect graces already granted you.

Only you can make your decisions as of course you know.

If you do have a call to ministry as a priest, then of course relationship with a girl, especially one who doesn’t share your faith, would likely compromise your call, and quite naturally she would be alarmed if you mentioned desiring to be a priest, as she doesn’t want to lose you,
However, your intention shouldn’t be formed by whether or not she is afraid, that isn’t God’s indication but a natural human response, so that if you are affected by her fear, this is a human reaction, not a sign from God. If your spiritual resolutions are shaken by her responses, then it is possible that her lack of sharing in your spiritual life…mixed faith marriages can be difficult…then you could lose even more motivation for the faith itself.

These things are possible, and if you had a true vocation to the priesthood, it could be the girl provides a temptation, a road block to your vocation and to your young life of faith, so very early in your Catholic life.

Even so, it may be that your earlier enthusiasm was partly due to the newness of your faith.

Any of us can only point out the possibilities,
and pray for God’s will, and God’s Holy Spirit to guide you.
God grant it will be so.

Warm wishes,

Trishie


#3

What do you mean by "ministry?" There are many ways to answer a call to ministry and not all of them involve the priesthood.


#4

Howdy!

Sounds like a tough decision. My advice: do not make it alone. Pray to God and listen to the Holy Spirit inside of you. They won’t make the decision for you, but they will guide you. It’s up to you to listen. And keep in mind, that it doesn’t have to be made now! Follow the relationship through! It’s only natural that she would be frightened. And if things work out, then you could always become a deacon. There is nothing like having a soul mate on Earth to share your spiritual journey with! And don’t let your past sins affect you wanting to become a priest. Keep in mind that you will have to lose those bad habits, but you will have to do that regardless of the decision you make. May God bless you! And good luck! Just don’t be in too much of a hurry to figure it out. Enjoy what you have now!

Good luck!


#5

Lay ministry continues to be a growing field in the church…

Very few people who are interested in the priesthood go directly into the seminary or religoius life immediately after high school.

Perhaps going to a good Catholic college like those run by the Benedictines, the Jesuits or Holy Cross will help you in your discernment. There you will see community life modelled and help you discern if you’re called into a religious commuity or diocesean life…

Above all meet with a vocation director to begin discussing all dimensions of whatever form of vocation you’re seeking…


#6

Pray before the Blessed Sacrament, ask God to show you His plan for your life, listen to His answer.

A great video to watch about discerning the priesthood:

The full Fishers of Men DVD is available for download from ccc.usccb.org/video/fishers_of_men1.wmv


#7

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.