Being Told I Have Time Since I'm Young (Rant)


#1

So I’m 15 years old and will be a Junior in high school next year who has been trying to discern the priesthood, but when ever I mention that (either in a post or with the only time I’ve talked to someone in person about my discernment) I’m usually told “oh don’t worry about it. You’re so young you have time to think about it,” but I can’t stand it when people tell me that.

The problem with saying that is that when you say I shouldn’t worry about it, it implies that fifteen year olds aren’t terrified of their future. I don’t know a single person my age who isn’t panicked about what they’re going to do in a very short while. We basically have a year and a half to figure out where we’re going to go after high school, and that isn’t much time, especially when you’re going to be drowning in homework and studying for a good portion of that.

Every high school student I know compulsively checks their grades and beats themselves up when their GPA drops, because they aren’t going to be eligibable for scholarships if it drops too much (not to mention ACTs that are rapidly approaching). We’re all plenty worried about college and the student loans that will hit us immediately afterwards.

My time is rapidly coming to an end, and I need to figure out if it’s UNO or the seminary. If it’s the seminary I’m going to need to dramatically change the classes I’m taking senior year, because currently it’s probably going to be a lot of computer science stuff, but those classes will become unnecessary if I end up going to the seminary.

This is why I’m tired of hearing how much time I have, and how I don’t need to be worrying right now. The clock is ticking, and it’s ticking faster than I’d like. I had the next eight years layed out pretty well for me (finish high school with a 3.5 or above and get a 30 on the ACT, then go to UNO on a regency scholarship and graduate with a masters degree in computer science and almost no debt), but now this priesthood thing has really thrown a wrench in that. I need to figure out if I should be going to the seminary right after high school, or go with my original plan. It’s a huge decision I need to make soon.

This whole thing is why I try to be vague about my age in general comments (asking for advice in my discernment is basically the only time I don’t). People need to stop patronizing younger people like they aren’t stressed about the future, because we are more than terrified.

I don’t really have any questions. I guess does this bother anyone else if you’re a young person?


#2

You are right to be concerned about plotting your personal path after high school. And you are to be complimented in allowing the possibility of a vocation will be your path.

Step One: PRAY. That’s different than obsessing, losing focus on other aspects of your life. Pray daily at specific times for specific lengths and move on with other aspects of your life each day. You can get the Liturgy of the Divine Office and use it daily. Daily Rosary, daily Divine Mercy Chaplet, etc. So many prayer devotions - use some daily.

One of my basic prayers has been, “Lord, open and close the doors to get me to where You want me to be doing Your Will, not my will but Your Will be done.” God’s Will is way more important than my will. I chose to want to do His Will.

**Step Two: Attend Mass as often as you can. ** Don’t let your mind wander at Mass, pay attention to each prayer and reading.

These two first steps should help develop the discipline you’ll need to assess the strength of your commitment at this stage of your life. Some men have such a strong calling they do go directly to seminary straight through to ordination and then ministry or further education. It all depends on the individual’s God given talent and calling.

Step Three: You will need a Spiritual Advisor. First talk with a Priest you have confidence in. Follow his advice. You might want to get books and articles on discernment.

When I was your age I was not sure of my path at all. I knew I should consider a vocation. I knew it was a “calling” and not something I could decide to follow or not, but a calling. How would I know God was calling me? So I prayed that God show me the way He wants. I’d pursue the opportunities that came my way and KEEP MY MIND AND HEART OPEN TO A POSSIBLE CALLING. If I was NOT married by age 28 - 10 years after high school, I would take that as a strong sign He was calling me. Perhaps the call could come earlier.

Well, I was married at age 20, 2 daughters by 28, married 53 years now with 6 grandchildren, age 5 to second grade school teacher. All of us are devoted to our Catholic Faith.


#3

Do you think you’ll be able to add even a single day to your life by worrying?


#4

The way our society is structured, it seems like it’s designed to induce panic, esp. in the young. There is so much pressure put on them, and the whole student loans thing on top of it all. And yet, that piece of paper is so vital.

There should be a vocations director at your diocese. Call him and talk with him about this, and remember that there is a good chance that the seminary will not mind if you have taken computer classes. Our priest majored and graduated from college in biology or chemistry, and they still let him into the seminary :wink: CS would at least be quite useful!

Talk with the vocations director. Even as it is, your plan is a good one for entering the seminary after having already gone to college, since you plan to graduate with little to no debt, and the debt sometimes means men can’t go to seminary right away.

Call the vocations director; he will be the best one to advise you. Just look up Catholic diocese of ________, and then go to the Contact Us page. Or you could send an email, but it might be harder to get.


#5

yes, talk to your vocations director, or even just your parish priest. go on a discernment retreat.

many seminaries want their applicants t have some sort of degree first as well so you may well end up doing both things


#6

All I can suggest is that you speak with a trusted priest if you feel you have the calling to enter the priesthood. It is a calling and one, I believe, that should not be ignored. I think a priest is your best spiritual advisor on this matter since he alone would know what pursuing the calling involves.

As far as being condescending to young people is concerned, I understand your frame of mind. I teach young people, college students, and they too are pretty stressed out about their future and their grades, GPA, scholarships, financial aid, and so on. No, the stress doesn’t stop after high school or after college, for that matter. Remember this, however: instead of focusing too much on your anxiety, take action to resolve the situation. Also try to practice controlling your negative emotions, which is a skill that comes with practice and maturity. Remember that life is a marathon, not a sprint.


#7

OP, have you spoken to your parish priest, or a vocations director or even your own parents yet about what you are thinking? If you have not, you should. You have questions that only they can answer for you in a way that Internet strangers cannot.

If you are having trouble deciding what to do, you should apply your studies toward college. There is no rush to go to the seminary. Many men finish college first and then decide. For some, they may even beginning working before they give that up and go into the seminary.

You need to stop trying to rush your decisions. There is no timeline or finish line that you need to cross by a certain age or date. Pray, and don’t worry.


#8

As someone discerning a call to the priesthood myself, I know how frustrating it can be at times but keep praying and you’ll get where you need to be in the end. It’s a long journey ahead, but well worth it.

I am in England so this may vary for you but this is the advice I have received from priests and seminarians I have spoken to.
Everyone I know who has spoken to a vocation director has been advised to complete a degree before applying to the seminary for the academic formation, as seminarians study for a bachelors in theology as part of their formation. Also it helps their personal development, even for us older applicants. I’m 30 now and because I went straight into work after school I am studying for a degree now as part of my discernment.
If you do go for a degree talk with your vocation director or a priest about the best subjects for you. Priests I know studied a variety of subjects from maths to marine biology before seminary, so there are options.
A good book for you to look at would be “To save a thousand souls” by Father Brett Brannen, there’s a lot of good information in there I’ve found.
A spiritual director can be very helpful as well.
Your parish priest should be able to point you in the right direction.
But the most important thing is that you pray often. If you can, go to adoration.

I hope some of this helps.

I’ll keep you in my prayers.
God bless.


#9

You have received a lot of good advice and ideas on different ways to proceed.

If you’re not already, you could also become a lector or altar server and become more active in your parish.

Also, as mentioned, you can pray the Divine Office and say the rosary.


#10

Because formation into the priesthood, if you are chosen therefor, will in all cases involve a university education, concentrate on preparing for that (grades, etc.) and choosing a school to go to (a Catholic college may provide better preparation for formation, but at a much higher cost).

You are right, being young is no reason **not **to be eager to prepare for your life. But in a process (discernment for formation) that will necessarily take years, there is no need to be in stress over it.

ICXC NIKA


#11

I commend you for being open to the possibility of a sacerdotal vocation. You really need to get in touch with the diocesan vocations director, and see what he/she says regarding prerequisites. That will put your mind at ease, and their prayers will help sustain you.

I understand exactly where you are coming from. I was received into the Church at the tender age of 16, wanting to be a nun.

Work on being a holy student. I was able to make morning Mass when I transferred to the Catholic high school. Even helped lead the rosary and lectored. Give a flying flip about your faith, and make reparation to Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament for your fellow students who don’t believe in His Real Presence. Be grateful for the sacrifices your parents make for you. So many students never stop to think about it.

Here is the prayer of St. Thomas Aquinas, O.P., to be used before study, etc.:

preces-latinae.org/thesaurus/Varia/CreatorIneff.html

The church just celebrated the feast of St. Aloysius Gonzaga, S.J. He is the patron of Christian youth. His prayers could help you, too.


#12

Excellent Prayer. Thank you.


#13

I’m sorry that you can’t stand that, but it’s the truth.

People your age change their views on things like they were changing their underwear.

I’m sorry if that’s annoying, but when you’re 35, you’ll realize how true that is.

Take things one step at a time, and stop worrying about what you may or may not be considering in SEVEN YEARS time. Study hard, pray harder, and seek to do God’s will in all things.


#14

Please make sure to find time for friends and fun in high school and undergrad. Experience as much as you can - study abroad, live with other students your own age, and date. Most of the men that enter formation with the Jesuit’s are near thirty or older. All Jesuit candidates have degrees and many have post grad degrees.

As for diocesan priests, In our diocese, there are very few men entering the local seminary so 85% are from Mexico. Our Vocations Director travels to different areas of Mexico several times a year for recruitment. :rolleyes:


#15

I thought of this bible quote when I read your post. Luke 2:52 "And Jesus advanced in wisdom, and age, and grace with God and men. "

You will be in my prayers.


#16

I forgot to add this verse. It comes right before the one I posted. Keep this in mind also:
Jesus had stayed behind in Jerusalem and his parents had just found him.

Luke 2:51
Then he went down to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them. But his mother treasured all these things in her heart.

All we have is time, use it wisely. Learn many things, practical and fun things. Fill up a rolodex/contact list of people who do what you have interest in. Send thank you notes to those who take time out of their schedule to guide you.

Before you know it, you’ll be looking back on your life more than forward. You will be a mentor and a guide. Especially if you are called to the Priesthood.


#17

I completely understand what you are saying. I remember being younger and not appreciating certain comments. But now that I’m older I see the other side. I understand why people say things like this. You will too one day. That doesn’t make it less annoying.

The truth is you are young so you do have time to think about it. At the same time if you sense are called to the priesthood then you should be discerning. Maybe what people who say this mean is that because of your age you can change course, you aren’t hemmed in. And that is true. As you get older your options will narrow. But for now you have much broader choices. I understand the stress of school and getting ready for the next stage in life. It is real and challenging. Part of the stress is in thinking you have to make the best choice right now. But you don’t. I’ve known plenty of people who changed course later in life.


closed #18

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