Hi, I was wondering about how one discerns whether he/she has a call to celibacy, and if so, what to do with it.
Our priest recently gave a homily where he stated that many more are probably called to celibacy than who actually answer it. He said that all should be open to it. At the time that he gave this homily I was not very open to the idea but that recently changed.
I am 24 and I had never dated in any way shape or form up until a couple weeks ago. Throughout adolescence I didn’t really feel like I was really compelled to be in a relationship so I was content just to live a single life. Over the past year or so my mom had started asking questions about it; I sense she is a little concerned. I had started thinking about it myself a year ago and had decided I would need to do something about it. Recently there is a girl at my parish that I’ve met through various ministries who has shown interest in me. I responded, and we had started to see each other some and sort of start a preliminary “dating” phase, though not really all-out dating. After about one week of that, I realized that it just didn’t feel right; I felt very strongly compelled against pursuing the relationship any further; indeed I felt strongly compelled against any romantic relationship with anyone. There was nothing wrong with the girl, she was very nice and a good girl and we had things in common, I just really had a strong conviction against seeing her any further. Now I won’t say from this isolated instance that I am called to celibacy, maybe she just isn’t the right person, but this really got me thinking. At the very least, I am now much more content with my status as a single person and open to the idea of the celibate life. I don’t know what sort of next step I ought to take.
I wondered also, if indeed I am called to celibacy, how to discern from there what my vocation might be. It seems like it would be a given that a celibate person must be called to the priesthood or the religious life. But our priest said that isn’t always the case; some people are called to be celibate laypersons. I feel like if I’m going to be celibate I personally would rather be serving as a priest or religious and not as a celibate layperson, as I feel like that would be a waste somehow, although that doesn’t really constitute a calling. I am about to finish my Master’s degree in computer science, so it seems that switching over to the priesthood/RL would be quite a big change from my original studies.