At times god feels like a torturer

This is my first post in these forums my name is Jacob and I am 19. I am in a relationship with a girl who is officially a member of the Church of Norway, I love her that is not the problem. My problem is that for the last 10+ years our lord has called me to the priesthood. Why would god send me a beautiful, loving, companion and at the same time haunt my heart and my dreams with a burning desire to become a priest, a desire that has been longer in my heart than my love for her. but I know that to become a priest my relationship with her would have to end which in thus would break my heart and hers which I could not do to her. I know my troubles are unusual but they still terrify me. If anyone has advice or perhaps if a priest strolls upon this plea of help it would be greatly appreciated.

Your brother in Christ

Jacob Donaldson

Dear Jacob, I don’t think God is torturing you. Is it not better for you to fall in love before you become a priest if you’re perhaps not really called but romanticizing priesthood? Maybe God is testing whether your vocation is 100% and actually blessing you with the presence of this girl. Right now, you feel like you have two loves, but if you marry (and please stay Catholic) and have a family, you will come to appreciate what God is doing for you now.

I hope a priest happens upon your post. God bless you. We can surely use more young men like you.

And they say that God doesn’t have a sense of humour!

Seriously though, hard though it may seem the Lord does in fact have a purpose hidden in all of this - just what that purpose is is something which you need to discern through prayer. I had a similar experience some years back before I entered the seminary but during period when I was seriously discerning a call to the priesthood. I just decided to go with the relationship to see where it went but, importantly, I was always up front with my girlfriend about the calling I felt to priesthood.

I was fortunate in that she was very understanding and supportive and, like me, was happy to just see where the relationship took us. While I ultimately ended up going to the seminary, and she is now in another, more committed relationship, we remain good friends. If anything, a relationship can be very beneficial for a future priest - besides experiencing the very thing which you are called to give up for the sake of the Kingdom, it also helps you to gain an understanding of yourself, how you relate to others and of course an understanding of what it’s like to be in a relationship.

Again though, God has a purpose - just be patient and it will likely become clear in time.

We grow in holiness through our struggles more than through our lack of struggles.

Dear Jacob,

Do you have a spiritual director? I would advise finding one with whom to discuss some of these issues. The first thought that comes to mind is that if you desire marriage with this women, perhaps you do not have a vocation to the priesthood.

If you do discern that you are being called to the priesthood and you end this relationship, consider forgoing future romantic relationships with women. After all, why start dating someone if you don’t anticipate it eventually leading to marriage?

God bless.

Jacob, your situation is frighteningly similar to mine. I’m also 19, and have found myself in a relationship with a girl from The Alliance Church. I, too, have felt a desire to be a priest for some years, but it seems to be waning. I love this girl, and although she’s protestant, she says she would be perfectly fine with children being raised Catholic, and with her going to a Catholic Church. She has also inspired me to go deeper into my faith, and to commit more to my prayer-life. Despite faith-differences, we have a great deal in common, and I know that I could marry her if that is what I’m called to do.

Let us pray for each-other!


  • Vincent
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