Afraid God wants me to be a priest


#1

I find I am afraid to open myself up to God’s will because I’m worried He’ll want me to be a priest. The only time I think about becoming a priest is when I worry about the idea of God wanting me to be one. It’s kind of a scrupulous thing. The only other time is when I think - man I would give awesome homilies if I were a priest.

I’ve always dreamed of falling in love and raising a family so the thought of becoming a priest scares me. It’s scary surrendering oneself to God’s will because you don’t know what he will ask of you.

Anyone have a similar experience? Any words of encouragement?

Thanks.


#2

You raise an interesting question that we face in broad terms every day. I reconcile this by believing that God knows what is best for all of us compared with what any one of us could ever hope to know. Our Lord Jesus Christ teaches us this lesson here:

"saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done." (Luke 22:42)

My humble advice based on the example of our Lord Jesus Christ is to seek the Blessed Holy Spirit to help you discern God's Holy Will then choose to serve God and others above anyone or anything in this world. Blessings and peace in your vocational discernment process.


#3

With respect, I think you're playing mind games with yourself. Neither God nor any man is going to hog-tie you and force you to be a priest. It would be far more likely that you'd decide you wanted to be a priest because of some false sense of what you could accomplish if you were one when, infact, that wasn't God's plan for you. You say that you always dreamed of marriage and a family. You say you really do NOT want to be a priest. Well, there ya go! Listen to your little voice!


#4

Not sure how old you are but I was kind of the same way in high school. I went to a Catholic-in-name college so I could stay close to the faith, and proceeded to date 3 or 4 girls in my first 4 years, but never anyone I saw as my future. Then, at the start of my 5th year, I still had those thoughts and left it up to God. A few months later, He led me to my future wife. So my advice is to keep yourself open to God's will and He will give you happiness.

On a side note, many Popes have prayed that the duty would not be bestowed on them, but went on to lead the Church faithfully. Let their sacrifice be an example to you, and God bless you.


#5

???


#6

Why would you be afraid? For not having your wife and family? You're receiving an ecstatic amount of grace with that life, and being the father of many more children than you would as a parent! :)

Of course, this state of life isn't for everyone, at all. God chooses people that are capable of handling it and doing wonders in His name. Don't be afraid if God does want you to become a priest: first of all, it's unlikely. The odds statistically probably are 1 in every 1500 male faithful. Second, if you are called, you'll know in the end that it's the life that will make you happy the most, and your doubts will be cleared. But to figure that out, you need to start your vocational discernment and stop worrying. If you let God guide your boats, He'll lead you to a good, calm and happy coast. :thumbsup:


#7

If you are afraid of become a priest you don't want to be one, thus I don't think God is calling you to be a priest. A vocation is something you usually are born with, when it will manifest is an other question. Either way, I am sure God does not want you to become a pastor. But if you feel uneasy or doubtful about this issue you may want to talk with your parish priest. I know that is just about the only answer given here on this forum, and others I should think, but it is often the best. To help someone on a public forum is a thing we should not take lightly, but we are only humans, and that is almost every time the best answer.


#8

[quote="thebookofesther, post:5, topic:339224"]
???

[/quote]

Simply put, if the young man has always wanted to be a husband and father and inside himself feels a burning desire for this vocation (as he said ), then he shouldn't worry about whether God wants him to enter a seminary. He said he isn't sure whether God might want him to be a priest because he thinks he can write great homilies. That doesn't sound like a vocation to the priesthood from where I set. His conscience has already answered the question if he just pays attention and doesn't try to go in a direction that he hasn't been called to but is possibly trying to tell himself that he should go in. Just my opinion. I don't think God works like that....


#9

[quote="Starrsmother, post:8, topic:339224"]

He said he isn't sure whether God might want him to be a priest because he thinks he can write great homilies.

[/quote]

Well, if he wants to write great homilies, he can always submit articles to "Homiletic & Pastoral Review" while being a happily married husband and, God willing, father.

Homiletic & Pastoral Review is a magazine geared towards intellectually and spiritually inspiring priests, so that they will be better able to give great homilies.

How do I, a lay person, know this?

Because over the years, my mother wrote many articles for this publication.

Following God's Will for your life and using your talents is possible whatever the vocation or state in life you are called to.

~~ the phoenix


#10

[quote="the_phoenix, post:9, topic:339224"]
Well, if he wants to write great homilies, he can always submit articles to "Homiletic & Pastoral Review" while being a happily married husband and, God willing, father.

Homiletic & Pastoral Review is a magazine geared towards intellectually and spiritually inspiring priests, so that they will be better able to give great homilies.

How do I, a lay person, know this?

Because over the years, my mother wrote many articles for this publication.

Following God's Will for your life and using your talents is possible whatever the vocation or state in life you are called to.

~~ the phoenix

[/quote]

Now there's a great idea. He really can have his cake and eat it too. I wasn't aware of this magazine--but I'm going to look it up! Thanks for the good info!:thumbsup:


#11

[quote="CanMan86, post:1, topic:339224"]
I find I am afraid to open myself up to God's will because I'm worried He'll want me to be a priest. The only time I think about becoming a priest is when I worry about the idea of God wanting me to be one. It's kind of a scrupulous thing. The only other time is when I think - man I would give awesome homilies if I were a priest.

I've always dreamed of falling in love and raising a family so the thought of becoming a priest scares me. It's scary surrendering oneself to God's will because you don't know what he will ask of you.

Anyone have a similar experience? Any words of encouragement?

Thanks.

[/quote]

Well, I am a girl, so I'm afraid I can't relate to being called to the Priesthood :o However, when I first had a thought of entering the religious life, I was terrified. Why was I terrified? For starters, I was scared that God was calling me to do something that I didn't want to do. I have always pictured myself as a consecrated single, because I have no attraction to marriage, and I wasn't too religious then. The mere thought of becoming a Nun/Sister was otherworldly for me. Next, my parents are very against the Catholic faith, because of the recent history of the Church. Because of this, I was baptized in the Greek Orthodox Church. This vocation of mine would involve me converting, and I honestly don't know how my parents will react when I tell them.

So, not to sound rude or anything, but if you are only afraid of what God is calling you to, you really have nothing to worry about. God has a path, and a plan, for everyone. You must remember that. No matter what you do, no matter if you marry or enter Seminary, it is all a part of His plan for you!

I friend of mine sent me this video, and it really helped me out a lot. I thought you might enjoy it, as well! It talks about what a vocation is: youtube.com/watch?v=Gq4CIeALeSo

I also found these videos he made, as well:
This video is entitled, "Be Not Afraid," and it talks about not being afraid of God's call: youtube.com/watch?v=NfN9v5BTCfA

This video is entitled, "How To Discern," and it explains how to know when the right time is, it goes through the "Three Steps," and is overall really informative: youtube.com/watch?v=N0WXdZKtZLw

I hope I could help you out! Much love to you!


#12

CanMan86,

Two things:

  1. Just because you think you'd give great homilies doesn't mean you would. We all have great ideas for what priests ought to say up there, but we ourselves might just freeze when we get behind the ambo.

  2. Just because you think you'd give great homilies doesn't mean you'd be a good priest. People have told me that I am an excellent public speaker, and that they'd love to hear my sermons, were I to give them. The problem is that I am afflicted with deep-seated homosexuality, but obedient to the Church. I am trying to get over it in order to pursue a vocation, but if I cannot overcome, then I cannot become a priest. Obedience to the will of God always comes first.

Some of us have qualities that might have been used well in the priesthood, but we are meant for physical fatherhood, or we are already mothers, or we are wheelchair bound, or a thousand other things. God wants servants of the Gospel in every walk of life, not just in a collar & chasuble.


#13

[quote="Lasting_faith, post:7, topic:339224"]
If you are afraid of become a priest you don't want to be one, thus I don't think God is calling you to be a priest. A vocation is something you usually are born with, when it will manifest is an other question. Either way, I am sure God does not want you to become a pastor. But if you feel uneasy or doubtful about this issue you may want to talk with your parish priest. I know that is just about the only answer given here on this forum, and others I should think, but it is often the best. To help someone on a public forum is a thing we should not take lightly, but we are only humans, and that is almost every time the best answer.

[/quote]

I tend to agree, based on my experience.

When I was in a similar situation, thinking about the priesthood, I was told that if I were "called" to the priesthood it would be a positive thing. If I had negative feelings or fears about it, that might be a sign that I'm not being called.


#14

Well, I have much to share. A disagree with many of the commenters, especially with those who have already figured out your vocation by your first post. I do not want to tell you if you have a vocation or not. I will tell you some spiritual advice, in order for you to figure out.

Your situation is quite known to me. I was there. Thinking I would so love to preach the faith, and help convert people, but priesthood? That's out of question. When I started to discern this, everytime the thought of priesthood came to my mind, I was terrified. That's OK. Every people has an inner call to family life at the beginning. A very few man have the vocation from an early age. I had the feeling that I could not sacrifice the family life for priesthood. It was not even a call rather than a strange feeling when I thought about it. Interestingly it only came when I was discerning my future. God has been working a lot in me and I tried to make my relationship, my unity deeper with Him day by day. A good advice: Never wait on being better. Do not say that you will have a deeper relationship with God in the future. Live it out to the fullest in the present. That will prepare you to your future tasks and God will give you the essential graces to deeper your faith. He indeed worked in my life this way. Although, I was still pretty convinced that I would be married. There was a time when I got closer to God and I went to Mass to serve at the altar. The Mass became so beautiful suddenly that I made an exclamation: "What a shame I am not called to priesthood." So God let me see the beauty and that touched my soul to let me see the true me. We are not superficial, but it is hard to dig down to the deeper level of us. The more you know God and His will for you, eventually the more you are gonna know yourself. After this exclamation I still wanted to be married, I needed a huge push to change my path. And I am grateful that God gave it to me. He communicated through ways I understood. He was with me, and I was in obedience to Him. After some months I was ready to accept priesthood which was so far the best decision in my life. I know that I had been given the talents to do it. I know that there is no better way for me. And I really enjoy my first year at seminary. I suggest you mediatate on this passage: Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. (Rom 12:2) It has helped me a lot.

Now, that's my story. I felt terrified, but that was a sign for me. I had little experience of faith to realise that. But as time passed and I fought the desires of the body, it became acceptable. I acknowledged God's way as mine. And as God knows me better than anybody it was truly my way. Whatever your vocation is spend time with God. Try to fight sins and not pleasing things in your life. Find what you can do in your daily life that is pleasing to Him. Walk with Him. And one day you will reach together either the mountain of marriage or the mountain of an other life-long vocation. (And if you really cannot discern after a long time, spend a few semesters at seminary, it is not a shame to go there without a vocation. You are not going to be ordained on the first day. But if you do not have a call, just leave. You might get a whole new perspective there and a kickstart to your true way.)


#15

What a beautiful testimony! And may God continue to bless you on your path to the priesthood! I hope you can truly grasp how much you are needed–as well as how lucky you are to have been blessed with such an amazing calling! Prayers sent for you!


#16

To the OP. So you're afraid? well all I can say is two things: good and welcome to the club.

to be afraid of a particular vocation is certainly natural and I would even go so far as to say healthy. If anything I would be more doubtful about someone who want't afraid than someone who was. Fear is a natural, and indeed, common reaction to a vocational call - if anything it's good because it means that you're taking it seriously! What you need to do though is work with those fears rather than letting them control you. the best way to do this is to talk honestly and openly about how you feel with a good spiritual director - allow them to challenge you and ask you the difficult questions so that you can reach a point where you are content to give yourself and your life over to God - regardless of what it costs. Bear in mind though that this is not always a quick or straight forward process - it took me something like 10 years before I was willing to accept God's calling for my life, with several false starts along the way.


#17

[quote="InThePew, post:16, topic:339224"]
To the OP. So you're afraid? well all I can say is two things: good and welcome to the club.

to be afraid of a particular vocation is certainly natural and I would even go so far as to say healthy. If anything I would be more doubtful about someone who want't afraid than someone who was. Fear is a natural, and indeed, common reaction to a vocational call - if anything it's good because it means that you're taking it seriously! What you need to do though is work with those fears rather than letting them control you. the best way to do this is to talk honestly and openly about how you feel with a good spiritual director - allow them to challenge you and ask you the difficult questions so that you can reach a point where you are content to give yourself and your life over to God - regardless of what it costs. Bear in mind though that this is not always a quick or straight forward process - it took me something like 10 years before I was willing to accept God's calling for my life, with several false starts along the way.

[/quote]

InthePew is so very right! And it doesn't matter what your vocation is--it's scary to think of getting married and committing your entire life to one person (assuming you are a thinking person when you do so)-- just like it is if you have a true religious vocation! The fear is a good thing and shows that your vocation may be real, not a romanticized idea and that you are sincere enough and mature enough to ultimately make the decision that is the right one and that God wants for you!:thumbsup:


#18

To the OP: I can relate to the feeling. I'd say not everyone is called to question their vocation and those that are called don't all get the same answer. It sounds like you have that question on your mind and maybe you should try some discernment.

On the point of wanting / not wanting to do something or at times being afraid... I really don't want to give spiritual advice, but think it might help to give a quick summary of my understanding of Ignatius' teaching on this.

Basically, according to my neophyte understanding of Ignatius' rules, if you are consistently in the state of grace and avoiding mortal sin and, when in prayer or mass the idea of a vocation is not accompanied by peace, then that's a sign that it's probably not the will of God. Outside of that context, it seems pretty normal for people to at times be afraid of their vocation regardless of what it is.

I originally posted these links about ignatian discernment resources here if you are interested:
forums.catholic.com/showpost.php?p=11247798&postcount=11

This post is a good summary of discernment:

followingthetruth.com/dis...ll-in-3-steps/

If one doesn't fall under category #1 and their vocation isn't obvious to them or they aren't sure, then there should be practical and spiritual steps one takes.

From a practical standpoint, there are some obvious steps like getting a good spiritual director, go on retreats, visit some orders, seminaries, etc. The priority here should probably be prudence.

From a spiritual standpoint, you need to discern in prayer. Fr Gallagher has a couple great books, one specifically on discernment in prayer, the other on the broader approach to a vocation. If you don't want to buy the books the podcasts are free and are pretty good all by themselves:

discerninghearts.com/?page_id=1146


#19

Hey. I have had the same fears. I have had people tell me I was gonna be a priest on different occasions in my life. A long story short I am a recovering alcoholic/drug addict and I was raised catholic and became agnostic through the years. I found God and became deeply envolved in a twelve step program. I had a very loving relationship with God and felt like my purpose was to help others like me. It brought me great peace. This fear or idea of the priest hood kept comming up. It disturbed me greatly. Plus being told that by people in my life didnt help. So when I talked to someone about it they said that maybe I have the calling. This scared me greatly. I was told of a priest that wanted to be something else but then got the calling. I was told he also wanted to get married but God ended up wining the war. I felt like since thats what happened to that guy then that must be what is happening to me. I became even more scared because God seems to hound a person with the calling until they give in. Like I dont really have a choice. It hurts me badly and I suffer greatly from this. This brings me to deep saddness and anger towards God and even feelings of hate towards God for putting this on me. I am not even a very devout Catholic but I do like helping people and carrying the message of recovery to others. I like to help people find God and tell them of the God found within. So this is a factor that makes me believe that maybe God is calling me to do it in the Catholic church despite my lack of sincere interest and life long desire to be married. But it creates such havoc for me emotionally and has put a big strain on my relationship with God. My parents and friends have seen the awful emotional wreck I get in when this happens to me. Man I dont want to be celibate but at the same time I know That I am not in charge and that God is and that in order for me to have any kind of quality life I have to do what He wants. So I feel trapped in this misery and pressured to go do despit how it makes me feel. Like maybe if I just surrender and go do it I can have some peace in my life. It angers me to think that is how all this works or that God is an opressing diety that burdens you to no end until you give up evrthing that you have hoped for (a marraige and a family) to do something like that. I feel like there is no reason to hope for anything in life that you may want even if you follow God because what is the point? God might just force you into something you dont really want to do. He may just burden you with a heavy wieght on your heart to do something that is not truly desired by you to do no matter how it makes you feel.Its all very sadding to me but I feel like I may have to any way because of how I have to do what God wants me to do beacause I have to in order to stay sober and not wreck my life. I feel stuck with no real peace where I use to have that in God now it has become like feeling like I dont have a real choice. Like I am obligated to chose the more selfless thing. But it makes me very unhappy to think that I have to make that choice out of loyalty to God. :confused::(:mad:


#20

[quote="Jr062910, post:19, topic:339224"]
Hey. I have had the same fears. I have had people tell me I was gonna be a priest on different occasions in my life. A long story short I am a recovering alcoholic/drug addict and I was raised catholic and became agnostic through the years. I found God and became deeply envolved in a twelve step program. I had a very loving relationship with God and felt like my purpose was to help others like me. It brought me great peace. This fear or idea of the priest hood kept comming up. It disturbed me greatly. Plus being told that by people in my life didnt help. So when I talked to someone about it they said that maybe I have the calling. This scared me greatly. I was told of a priest that wanted to be something else but then got the calling. I was told he also wanted to get married but God ended up wining the war. I felt like since thats what happened to that guy then that must be what is happening to me. I became even more scared because God seems to hound a person with the calling until they give in. Like I dont really have a choice. It hurts me badly and I suffer greatly from this. This brings me to deep saddness and anger towards God and even feelings of hate towards God for putting this on me. I am not even a very devout Catholic but I do like helping people and carrying the message of recovery to others. I like to help people find God and tell them of the God found within. So this is a factor that makes me believe that maybe God is calling me to do it in the Catholic church despite my lack of sincere interest and life long desire to be married. But it creates such havoc for me emotionally and has put a big strain on my relationship with God. My parents and friends have seen the awful emotional wreck I get in when this happens to me. Man I dont want to be celibate but at the same time I know That I am not in charge and that God is and that in order for me to have any kind of quality life I have to do what He wants. So I feel trapped in this misery and pressured to go do despit how it makes me feel. Like maybe if I just surrender and go do it I can have some peace in my life. It angers me to think that is how all this works or that God is an opressing diety that burdens you to no end until you give up evrthing that you have hoped for (a marraige and a family) to do something like that. I feel like there is no reason to hope for anything in life that you may want even if you follow God because what is the point? God might just force you into something you dont really want to do. He may just burden you with a heavy wieght on your heart to do something that is not truly desired by you to do no matter how it makes you feel.Its all very sadding to me but I feel like I may have to any way because of how I have to do what God wants me to do beacause I have to in order to stay sober and not wreck my life. I feel stuck with no real peace where I use to have that in God now it has become like feeling like I dont have a real choice. Like I am obligated to chose the more selfless thing. But it makes me very unhappy to think that I have to make that choice out of loyalty to God. :confused::(:mad:

[/quote]

You always have a choice. It does not have to be priesthood if you are really not comfortable with it. Many men have been called to priesthood and they just sincerely asked God to change His plan for their lives. It is not like committing a sin or anything because you love God and want to do what He likes. The point of discerning the state of your life is to find that in what state of life you can be the best version of yourself, a saint. :thumbsup: This requires a little self-knowledge. I see it is a long-lasting problem of yours, so I want to encourage you that the expression "Do not be afraid." is in the Bible 365 times. That's one for every day. :)


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