Greetings, and thanks for reading.
This evening, I received a very disappointing letter from an society of traditional priests, thanking me for my inquiry regarding beginning priestly formation with them, but informing me that they do not accept applicants for the priesthood over the age of 30 (I am 34). However, they did ask me if I might consider becoming a “clerical oblate” with them. I’ll write them and ask for more information, as I’m not quite sure what this is; I’m presuming that it’s something like a coadjutor brother. As this is a society of secular priests, I’m not even sure if their oblates are vowed or not. When I find out, I’ll go over it with my spiritual director.
My interest in the priesthood was strongly renewed toward the end of last year. There were a number of factors for this, but I’ll leave it with the statement that it became evident to me that I make a rather terrible secular layman. I’ve gone through the motions for many years, but my heart has never quite been in it. It feels, for lack of a better term, mercenary, even somewhat cheap. I did take part a little in “discernment culture” in my 20s, but just found myself frustrated by it quite a bit. It wasn’t until I found a real spiritual home, so to speak, in a parish that celebrates the Traditional Latin Mass that my frustration with the Church abated. Now, the attitude and ethos that a reverent liturgy inculcates has become necessary for me, and in my research into societies and orders the nature of the liturgy they celebrate is a decisive factor.
As I said, I’ll ask for more information regarding this “clerical oblate” status, but my initial reaction is not one of enthusiasm. It seems, of course, better than my present condition, I must admit, but I don’t quite feel a draw yet. That might change with more knowledge or perhaps with a visit to this society. Even still, if the priesthood isn’t possible, I’m much more drawn to the life of a contemplative monk than that of an active brother. I am fortunate to know of a Benedictine establishment not too distant from me where the liturgy is beautiful–Novus Ordo and particular Breviary in Latin with Gregorian chant. Indeed, I plan on retreating there for about a week after the end of the semestre (I am a tutor at a college) and hope to speak to them about a possible vocation.
I feel however, particularly drawn to the priesthood, and particularly in a traditional order or society. I want to provide publicly what was denied me in my youth, for the salvation of many souls and the greater glory of God. If that’s not possible, then I wish to go to the cloister, place myself under obedience, leave a world that loses more of its lustre year after year, and embrace the state of perfection.
So, the big question I would have then is: Are there any institutes or societies of priests who celebrate the traditional Latin Mass, who live, preferably, in a community of some sort, and that will accept men of my age for formation?
Thanks very kindly.