Confused about my vocation again


#1

So here it goes, last year during my summer at a Totus Tuus teacher for my diocese and through a bit of discernment, I felt I was called to being either single or married and for the most part ruled religious life or the priesthood out (not that I rejected it but I thought there was maybe a 1% chance I’d be in the priesthood since you can’t rule anything out in regards to God). Anyway I went to this retreat and had a lot of time for adoration. Well for some reason one night I was really focused and for some reason internally I shouted to Jesus “I want to be a priest!” which was strange.

Just a bit of background. I’m almost 25 and a college graduate but don’t have a job in my field (I substitute teach and work at a grocery store) but i’m working on my masters in special education) and I decided to get my masters to make a better life and support a family and actually do something I get enjoyment out of . However this priest thing throws me for a loop and i worry if i’d even be accepted. For a long time I always said I’d be a priest because I felt I wasn’t good enough to be married and also felt it would be weird or that something was wrong just being single and not doing anything vocationally speaking. But within the past year its changed. While I have some genuine fears about the priesthood and don’t feel it’s a good fit vocationally speaking why would I cry out in adoration “I want to be a priest”.

My only theory is that since a vocation come from God, that maybe it was a way of getting my desires out. Maybe I still had those old feelings not being good enough to get married were just getting brought out. The key thing is that I said “I want to be a priest” it wasn’t god calling me and from what i’ve read about vocations, a true priestly vocation comes from God. So maybe me saying it doesn’t mean anything

Also one more issue. I don’t have a spiritual director at the moment since my previous one lives about 80 miles away and I don’t exactly have money to make 160 mile round trips lately. So i’m looking for another one but I don’t know who to select since I don’t know any priests that are close by.


#2

Actually, the Priesthood is a higher calling than married life. Be that as it may. I think by seriously praying and waiting for God to show you plainly what he wants you are on the right track.


#3

Praying to the Holy Spirit to give you guidance & direction.


#4

Perhaps instead of thinking that you were not worthy for married life, it may be healthier to think of your aversion to any other vocational state except for priesthood as a good indication that you should at least give it a shot? :shrug:

Apply to your diocese, or a religious order you’ve been interested in. You have nothing to lose, and everything to gain. :smiley:


#5

He’s right. But let’s take the mystery out of it. Just because you had a spontaneous charismatic event does not mean you are called to the priesthood. Most of those who are probably likely never have an experience like yours. So my suggestion would be to be less emotionally excitable and more rational.

Ask yourself then a few questions: 1) are you physically and psychologically healthy enough to fulfill the duties of the priesthood? 2) Are you intellectually apt enough for seminary studies? 3) Would you have in aspiring to the priesthood the correct motives? 4) Is there a strong life of grace evident in your soul?

If you answer affirmatively to all of these, then there is good reason to suspect a vocation which ought to be explored with a spiritual director. Indeed, not to do so, while not sinful, is certainly unwise. But answer these questions first, and don’t just be drawn along by emotionalism.

God bless.


#6

Thanks and I am taking this rationally and “testing the spirits” as they say. I know now that I can’t just make a decision just based on emotion (even as little as a year ago i’d have just gone out applying to seminary right then and there). In praying more, I feel more like it’s a process of me being more open to the priesthood but also less open in the sense that with what spiritual direction I have I am more called to be married or a bachelor. As I mentioned earlier there still is a chance and if I have a definite calling i’ll answer but right now since I’m in school I will see where that takes me. Trust me i’ve learned the hard way in my life that my emotions get the best of me.


#7

The thing is though that I don’t have an aversion to marriage. For a long time I held the wrong view that since I was socially awkward and also not good looking and girls didn’t like me that I should become a priest and that being just some single guy was kind of being selfish. So it isn’t that I was not seeing myself married because i’d rather be a priest, it was more that I lacked confidence and worried that I’d be a single weirdo who couldn’t get a date that i’d be a priest which thankfully I overcame. So it isn’t a matter of not seeing myself in another state. I’d love to be married (granted I’m worried it will take longer than expected, but its on God’s time, and even a guy like CS Lewis didn’t get married until late in life.) and also while being single would be a bit of a bummer I think I could handle it now with good friends and being involved with whatever.

I don’t know but all i’m sure of is that God has it taken care of.


#8

Well, let’s get to the heart of the matter. Every time a man discerns, two factors need to come into play: 1) Is the clerical or lay state more conducive to my own sanctification? 2) Is the regular (religious) or secular state more conducive to my own sanctification? Women need only to ask the second question. But let’s focus on the first.

You note you’re open to being “more called to be married or a bachelor.” Only secular laypersons can marry, and I presume that when you say you might remain a bachelor, you mean remaining unmarried in the secular lay state rather than becoming a religious brother. Correct me if I’m wrong. But let’s take these two things together under the vocation of the secular laity, and discern such things as career or marital status if you feel drawn to this state of life.

When you talk about the priesthood, you don’t indicate whether you have more of an interest in the secular or regular priesthood, so we’ll let that go for now. We’ll just take the clerical state in general. So that leaves us with a choice between the clerical state and the lay state. Following me so far?

As we all spend our childhoods and often a good few years of our adult lives in the secular lay state, we often just take it as a given. I don’t think this is a good idea. We need to discern if we are called to the lay life just as much as we need to be discern if we are called to the priesthood. What I think you ought to do, while in a state of grace and soon after (quiet, not emotional) prayer that your eyes see clearly and your mind be enlightened, is to fold a leaf of paper in half and make numbered lists on both halves. On one side, list what draws you to the priesthood. On the other, list what draws you to the lay life. Try not to use any negatives (not, never, etc.) in this, and focus in particular on how you’d best serve others in these lives. To this end, you may presume marriage as something normative to the secular lay life.

After that, you might want to do another such list regarding the secular and regular lives. After you’re done was these, think a little about what you wrote. Do any of your motives anywhere seem selfish? Was there any list which was easier to write than another? Were any of them extraordinarily difficult? Did you have difficulty due to ignorance of the duties and obligations of any of these lives? After making these lists and looking over the results, do you find yourself thinking any differently about anything? Then take your suspicions and accusations with you to your next holy hour.

Of course, you’re encouraged to post your thoughts here for the opinions of many, but this is no substitute for a spiritual director. He, of course, would be the best person to go over these thoughts with. The best I can now say is, if you find yourself ignorant of what any of these states of life entails, read about it. Be sure you have a full picture before going forward. Don’t fixate on the different varieties of religious institutes, for that can come later; look at religious life in general. Likewise, don’t worry about the married or single states, for this too can come later; look at lay life in general.

I’d be interested in hearing what you come up with.

God bless.


#9

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