Discerning priesthood


#1

Hello, brothers and sisters!

Few weeks ago I had about three of four days of clarity, when I was like 95% sure that I am called to be a priest. I am 16 and while I was catholic for my whole life, I turned back to God only one year ago (protestants could say that I was born-again :slight_smile: ). Since then I joind local community and started to help a priest in a near parish with youth ministry. In September I began to work on my confirmation.

There are few things that make me think about priesthood… I love philosophy and theology, I love the Church and I am a huge fan of papacy, I like to talk with people about God, I like the sacraments, I want to help people. I like to wear black clothes :thumbsup: and most of all, I love God.

(Here comes “but”) But… I am pretty sure that a large part of my family (non-practicing catholics) would take me entering the seminary very negatively… My mom actually told me, that it would be “a shame for the family”… I understand that my family members are more-or-less simple people, that they would like to see me with a wife and a bunch of kids.

Since I am young and I will be finishing high school and choosing a university in 2014, I was thinking about finding a university far from home (to become a bit independent) and after finishing it, I would decide if the call is really from God. Do you think that this would be a good idea? I would be maybe 23 or 24 after finishing the university (I am not sure, if I would be able to study philosophy and theology already, because that would “raise some questions” in my family circles, also if the call would not be real, I don’t think that I would survive in the world with a degree from philosophy :blush: ).

Also, if the reactions from my family would still be negative, would there be a possibility for me to be a priest in, let’s say, another country? I am pretty sure that the number of priest in my country is not on critical levels yet, so maybe there would be places, where I would be more needed. I would consider religious life, but diocesan priesthood seems more right to me now.

I know I should talk with a priest about this, but I am a bit shy on this matter, it is still exciting and fresh and… to be honest… scary :o . Do you think that I should still do it, considering my age and other issues I described?


#2

Hello brother in ordeal,
I am very happy for you.
You are not alone. Here we are guys with exactly stories and same problems in family.
My only advice is: pray and be happy that God has choosen you (I know that isn’t easyest thing but …)
I will remember you in my prayers.

Be well, my friend, if you want - send me Private Message.

Almost your neighbor in Slovenia,
frater in Christo,
Attempto


#3

I too have discerned priesthood for a long time in my life. It's kind of on and off at times, but slowly I'm getting there.

As you said, the best thing is to talk to your priest. Don't be afraid or shy, it'd be wonderful news to hear for them, and of course they keep all such stuff confidential.

But as a fellow discerning brother, I can offer you some basic advice. Pray, fast and give yourself to God. Try to turn away from 'worldly desires', as a priests job often is. That includes spending so much time and money going out, buying gifts for yourself etc :P

I think age is really important here. Part of the struggles and obstacles I'm facing is giving up so many habits that I've become accustomed to since my teen years (I'm 21 now). From what I hear though, 21-23 is the ideal age most priests figure out their calling. Sounds logical. Being a priest requires knowledge not only of God and the church, but the real world. What it takes to be an individual, burdened with bills, relationship trouble, social issues etc. It's important for a priest to know these things to aid their understanding when helping people or doing confession. That's why you usually find that most priests know exactly where you're coming from when you talk to them about relationship issues, trouble at work, etc. They've been there before, and it's important that they have. For that reason, I would say that at your current age you're perhaps too young to make that decision yet (I'm not sure it would even be a possible option until you're at least 18). But, that doesn't mean you should stop. Not at all. Like I said, keep praying, and spend time alone with God. Think about it carefully. Live your life! What most priests and advisers have told me, if God wants it of you, give yourself to Him and it will happen!

I'm also currently studying at University, almost finished a degree in business. I was previously in a long-term relationship. However, I have doubts everyday about all of that. I'm no longer in a relationship, which was a result of my discernment, and I sometimes feel inclined to do the same with my studies. But be careful. Better to make a decision later than too early. Don't rush, but for the time being definitely keep at what you're doing; attend church, get involved in activities they hold etc. This is a great way to prepare and strengthen yourself, I kind of wish I did the same thing but I only started having feelings of becoming a priest when I was around 20.

Sorry to hear about your family not supporting you. I can slightly relate to this as well, but for the most part my parents are devout Catholics and have always encouraged and supported my ideas of such. I suggest your talk to them, tell them that it's something you're looking into that you really want to do, for yourself, and obviously for others as well, and that they should support you. Time alone/independence sounds like it would really benefit you if it's at all possible with your financial situation etc.

God Bless.


#4

I'll say this consider going straight into seminary, I went to college (university) for 2 years before entering seminary, I think god sent me in this direction for a reason but looking back on it I can say I think it may have been better for me to enter seminary right out of high school. I was like you pretty sure I wanted to be a priest but I believed I kinda ran away from my calling, I said to myself I think its better if I wait on this calling. I wanted to experience college first. Now I think there are many positive things about going to college (university) first then entering seminary, but I say if you believe you are called to be a priest why wait to enter seminary? You may have a good answer to this question, but as I try to say to every single person I talk to about discernment get a spiritual director or talk to a priest about this stuff. They will be able help you to discern, they will be able to tell you what is of your own making and what is from God, or at-least help guide you to decide what is of your own making and what is of God's making.

God bless you in your discernment.


#5

So I was feeling very lonely the other day and I randomly decided to go to mass and confess. Shortly after I started confessing, the priest told me that I have the material to be a priest and I simply freaked OUT! I used to go to mass every sunday to that Church with my family and now I avoid it at all costs. However, it got me thinking that I have always leaned towards the calling since I was an infant. I do not know whether this is a result of my deeply religious (border-line fanatical parents) or a sincere calling to conversion and priesthood. I have even spent a week at a Franciscan friary and had the most peaceful week of my life. Nevertheless, when I returned to the real world I find myself even cooler at my Faith than before and even though I have considered the monastic life, my life is not exactly where I want it to be. I want conversion but I havent been able to obtain it.


#6

[quote="Andres_C, post:5, topic:307337"]
So I was feeling very lonely the other day and I randomly decided to go to mass and confess. Shortly after I started confessing, the priest told me that I have the material to be a priest and I simply freaked OUT! I used to go to mass every sunday to that Church with my family and now I avoid it at all costs. However, it got me thinking that I have always leaned towards the calling since I was an infant. I do not know whether this is a result of my deeply religious (border-line fanatical parents) or a sincere calling to conversion and priesthood. I have even spent a week at a Franciscan friary and had the most peaceful week of my life. Nevertheless, when I returned to the real world I find myself even cooler at my Faith than before and even though I have considered the monastic life, my life is not exactly where I want it to be. I want conversion but I havent been able to obtain it.

[/quote]

I would say your best bet is to contact the vocation director in your diocese, and explore your vocation. Starting the process is not a committment. Either you or the Church can decide you don't have a priestly calling all the way up to ordination.

God Bless


#7

[quote="Andres_C, post:5, topic:307337"]
So I was feeling very lonely the other day and I randomly decided to go to mass and confess. Shortly after I started confessing, the priest told me that I have the material to be a priest and I simply freaked OUT! I used to go to mass every sunday to that Church with my family and now I avoid it at all costs. However, it got me thinking that I have always leaned towards the calling since I was an infant. I do not know whether this is a result of my deeply religious (border-line fanatical parents) or a sincere calling to conversion and priesthood. I have even spent a week at a Franciscan friary and had the most peaceful week of my life. Nevertheless, when I returned to the real world I find myself even cooler at my Faith than before and even though I have considered the monastic life, my life is not exactly where I want it to be. I want conversion but I havent been able to obtain it.

[/quote]

As my hero, John Paul II, would say: "Be not afraid." :thumbsup: And I don't mean it just as a phrase, I sometimes realise, that we are so freaked out by things that happen in our lives, as if we forget, who is the Boss around here. Our Father, Abba. Not an imperfect father, but the perfect Father, perfect God and, in the end, the most perfect human.

My life is also not where I would want it to be, my parents still have no idea, that I am considering the priesthood, my teachers in school want to see me to become a scientist. I am kinda looking forward to see their faces, when I will say, that God has called me to do something a bit more heroic.

My brother Andres, I know, that the idea of being a priest is a scary one, trust me, I know it myself, but try not to look at all the dark sides, all the problems and issues... imagine yourself holding the Eucharist over a little flock of people, imagine Christ in your very hands... and don't see it as something stressful, quite the opposite, how relaxed this moment is, when God himself, through you, comes to his faithful. How beautiful moment, how amazing.

Trust God! It's the most reasonable thing to do in this world. Love God! It's the most beautiful and natural thing in this world. Have faith in God! Because He has faith in you! :blessyou:

God bless!
Martin


#8

[quote="ThomasMartin, post:7, topic:307337"]
As my hero, John Paul II, would say: "Be not afraid." :thumbsup: And I don't mean it just as a phrase, I sometimes realise, that we are so freaked out by things that happen in our lives, as if we forget, who is the Boss around here. Our Father, Abba. Not an imperfect father, but the perfect Father, perfect God and, in the end, the most perfect human.

My life is also not where I would want it to be, my parents still have no idea, that I am considering the priesthood, my teachers in school want to see me to become a scientist. I am kinda looking forward to see their faces, when I will say, that God has called me to do something a bit more heroic.

My brother Andres, I know, that the idea of being a priest is a scary one, trust me, I know it myself, but try not to look at all the dark sides, all the problems and issues... imagine yourself holding the Eucharist over a little flock of people, imagine Christ in your very hands... and don't see it as something stressful, quite the opposite, how relaxed this moment is, when God himself, through you, comes to his faithful. How beautiful moment, how amazing.

Trust God! It's the most reasonable thing to do in this world. Love God! It's the most beautiful and natural thing in this world. Have faith in God! Because He has faith in you! :blessyou:

God bless!
Martin

[/quote]

:tiphat::clapping:


#9

Hi TM,

Thanks be to God for the awesome desires He has put in your heart. This is a question that many young people wrestle with: How do I handle my families objections to my vocation?

There are really 5 things that you need to do:

[LIST=1]
]Figure out what you really want. Are you sure God is calling you to be a priest? How do you know? What signs or clues have pointed you in that direction? Are you so certain that you'll move forward even if your parents are against you? Don't tell them until you know you'd move ahead no matter what they said.
*]
Do your homework*. Your parents will want to know things like: How has God led you till now? What is your story? What are your reasons for wanting to be a priest? Start with the facts. Then tell them your hypothesis: I think God is calling me to be a priest. Then get ready to answer a new set of questions: Where will you go? How long will you be gone? How often will you be able to see/speak with your family? What will you study? What will you do if you realize God is not calling you to be a priest? Out of respect for them, you should know as much as you can before you tell them anything.
*]Choose an appropriate time and place to talk with your family. Make sure they're available and ready to listen with no distractions (TV, etc.). You may also want to prepare them by being extra kind, loving, etc.
*]Tell them your story & encourage them to give you feedback: Start by telling them how much you appreciate all they've done for you and all their efforts to raise you well. Then tell them the facts, your story. Next, tell them, "I think God is calling me to be a priest." Then be ready to answer their questions.
*]Keep moving forward with your discernment and keep loving your family no matter what happens.
[/LIST]

God bless,

Fr. Scott, AVI
Apostles of the Interior Life


#10

Thank you Fr. Scott. That’s really helpful.:slight_smile:
In Christ,
Attempto


#11

(Here comes "but") But... I am pretty sure that a large part of my family (non-practicing catholics) would take me entering the seminary very negatively... My mom actually told me, that it would be "a shame for the family"... I understand that my family members are more-or-less simple people, that they would like to see me with a wife and a bunch of kids.

One of my friends experienced the same situation. He had wanted to become a priest since he was very young, but his parents were quite opposed to it. When it finally came time to apply to enter the seminary, his parents still disagreed. After a while, and many conversations with several priests, his parents slowly accepted the idea. My friend is still in seminary and close to ordination. It may take some time, but your parents will turn the corner with a lot of prayer and conversation.


#12

well the good thing about discerning the priesthood, it isn't up to our parents to decide, only ours to accept if called ! Though it would make life a little easier if they supported us on our journey.

I am in discernment as well, have completed i think around 90 % of the packet thus far, should be turning in what i got soon.... very nervous about it....

I am at a fork in the road too, and am putting off trying to go back to college till I get an answer .... I got a feeling I am on the right path, but am sick to my stomach as for waiting for answers, an to find out i could be waiting till the end of next year for even an interview ... makes my head spin ! being unemployed on one hand doesn't help matters but on the other it does.... I could try an find some horrid 9-5 job i would be miserable at, but am realizing i now have an opprotunity to start volunteering in charitable ways,

I have been in discernment for nearly 7 months now, and my problem isn't so much if I am being called, it is more like here I am what do You want me to do.

So now I am left to wait, but I cant just sit by and do nothing I am finding that the one place i volunteer at on the weekend isn't enough that I have to do more, so i hope to be able to... Hopefully while I am waiting, an going down this road ... I can hear Christ a little better than I am now... Do any of you in discernment feel yourself growing closer to Christ ? If so how ?

I see plenty of signs, least I am hoping I am , in my own life, I have thoughts in my head that are not my own , nothing profound, but enough to make me wonder what is going on...

An if I am not accepted I have a feeling I am going to be embarressed to say the least...

and probably more confused than I am going into discernment... I really wana take my packet and go plop in front of my Bishops' office an be like hey I am here I need some answers....

patience an staying calm are things i am working on at the moment. interested to hear how others are doing.


#13

[quote="john78, post:12, topic:307337"]
well the good thing about discerning the priesthood, it isn't up to our parents to decide, only ours to accept if called ! Though it would make life a little easier if they supported us on our journey.

I am in discernment as well, have completed i think around 90 % of the packet thus far, should be turning in what i got soon.... very nervous about it....

I am at a fork in the road too, and am putting off trying to go back to college till I get an answer .... I got a feeling I am on the right path, but am sick to my stomach as for waiting for answers, an to find out i could be waiting till the end of next year for even an interview ... makes my head spin ! being unemployed on one hand doesn't help matters but on the other it does.... I could try an find some horrid 9-5 job i would be miserable at, but am realizing i now have an opprotunity to start volunteering in charitable ways,

I have been in discernment for nearly 7 months now, and my problem isn't so much if I am being called, it is more like here I am what do You want me to do.

So now I am left to wait, but I cant just sit by and do nothing I am finding that the one place i volunteer at on the weekend isn't enough that I have to do more, so i hope to be able to... Hopefully while I am waiting, an going down this road ... I can hear Christ a little better than I am now... Do any of you in discernment feel yourself growing closer to Christ ? If so how ?

I see plenty of signs, least I am hoping I am , in my own life, I have thoughts in my head that are not my own , nothing profound, but enough to make me wonder what is going on...

An if I am not accepted I have a feeling I am going to be embarressed to say the least...

and probably more confused than I am going into discernment... I really wana take my packet and go plop in front of my Bishops' office an be like hey I am here I need some answers....

patience an staying calm are things i am working on at the moment. interested to hear how others are doing.

[/quote]

Wow, so it's not just me! I got a huge vibe reading your post, I tried to remember if it was maybe something that I wrote myself because you summed up my life and feelings pretty clearly there. I don't work either, and while I'm optimistic about one day finishing my degree I really don't feel interested in it anymore, and the same applies for working. Work has never been something that I've been able to happily be content with and understand, I find it a huge distraction to one's a daily devotion and the way they would want to live their lives in Christ. Although, I can obviously see the highest need that some people need to work, but few people know have the luxury of being able to only work when they need to; jobs today require you to commit your entire schedule and free time :hypno:

I feel your frustration man. My feelings are all over the place. Some days I wake up and I come within a heartbeat of just saying "screw it I'm gonna do it, I know it's for me!" and on other days I'm like "well, maybe I'm supposed to get married and live a regular path instead". I've put my life on hold for a long time, and to answer your question yes I've grown closer to Christ indeed, not only spiritually, but in so many more ways. My ongoing journey with God has opened my eyes to many things...I can now better understand how God works, what He wants from us, how to satisfy Him, how to make sense of things, how to embrace suffering, why we need God etc. All these things God has gradually showed me in my life, which only further supports my discernment, but at the same time I feel that I'm perhaps not ready just yet. I'm still quite young, somewhat inexperienced in some areas, still have a lot going on that I need to sort out (with myself and others) and a whole bunch of other stuff. I feel that my discernment will become a lot clearer and easier in perhaps another year or so when I have everything sorted. I estimate it might even take a little longer...I'm currently 21 and I feel that 24 will be the cut-off date for me to finally decide (although I've heard it said too many times, it's never too late for priesthood!). Until then all I (and you) can do is just continue to grow and develop. Feed your passion in Christ, stay close with God, keep him a priority and pray...in the words of our savior "tomorrow will take care of itself". Priesthood cannot be rushed and until you know for sure, keep living your life in patience and have faith. Continue with your life, but remember to keep God and your discernment in your heart always.

Oh, and I wouldn't worry about "being accepted". The only one worthy of judging your vocation is God and yourself. If God has called you, He will provide a way, and I'm sure your parish will help you however they can. The only way I can imagine someone not being accepted is if the Church deems them not physically, mentally or spiritually suitable for the job, which they make a good effort to judge based on your profile. But, I'm sure you know they simply do this to make sure that a candidate is actually being called by God and has the burning desire of God's grace inside them.

That's all I got for you man :)


#14

To my Dear Brothers and Sisters:
I have been a dedicated Catholic for over 5 years now. Ive volunteered as a Sponsor to a couple being married in the church as well as a gentleman being inducted into the RCIA program. Ive provided for the poor by buying them dimitir when they needed it as well as provided a Christmas for a family that couldnt afford it. Ive volunteered in fundraisers as well being an ulter server when needed.
I was both Baptised and married in the church by a Catholic
Priest.
Back in September I created a grevious sin, one that might be unforgiven by many. I created a sin that got me arrested and put a very quick ending to my marriage. This sin was not a violent one, I didnt touch anyone, I didnt threaten anyone, I didnt even come in contact with anyone. The sin I created I believe was an illegal form of adultery.
This life changing experience has destroyed me both emotionally and physically. Im 36 years old, have never been in trouble and my last traffic violation had to be maybe 3 years ago. Ive always been a pillar to the community I have lived in. A lot of people came to me for support as well as looked up to me.
The 3 months I spent in jail I came closer to our Lord then I had ever been. My Bible never left my side. Fellow inmates looked to me for prayer as well as a few looked to me for guidance to our Lord. While I was in jail I prayed for God to send me some sort of sign or message for spiritual guidance and direction. He sent me several messages but one I am not taking lightly....a call to God. Ive had so much inspiration and wisdom to begin the process of entering the seminary. My concern is that I wont be accepted because of this recent sin and the results of it. Im in the process of talking to many priests about this as well as attempting to talk to my Bishop and Vocations Director. I think what really hurt me the most was I was in a position of authority when this happened. I know I eternally hurt my wife and Im humbly sorry for my actions. I have so much hurt, pain and sorrow from hurting my loved ones, my family and especially my beautiful wife. Im struggling getting over my marriage. Im in church everyday for hours on in, at times 2 times daily. I really have a strong urge of entering the priesthood but again am afraid of rejection. All my friends and my wife have abandoned me which is partially the reason I want to dedicate my life to the seminary. Brothers and Sisters any suggestions or insights on if i would accepted or not? Any similar past experiences? Anything would help. Thank you and God Bless!


#15

I'm a mere layman, but I'll pop up the two cents of mine here.

If you feel a call to the priesthood. . . hello, it's GOD communicating to you in this way.

How can you NOT listen hard and do the few things it takes to see whether the priesthood is where you are meant to be?

I mean, how BETTER to have one's career choice validated?

. . . and to think, some folks just do what they do because of money! Or because their mother wanted a dentist in the family!


#16

I wanted to add this too, in short i would say partially my approach in discernment is I see how my faith in Christ and the Church , being Catholic all my life has gotten me through the very hardest parts of my life, an how i couldn’t have other wise. An after wondering for so long what in the world to do with my life I have seen exactly what has been happening to me, and I feel that this is it, that my life has been leading me to this point in time where i am now, with nothing left to lose, to say Here I am, and I want to know if I am honestly being called, I have nothing left in this world to fear and truthfully i never had anything to fear to begin with it just took me till now to see it.

So realizing that now I have decided instead to see if I might be called to the priesthood, I could have said ya know what I get it and i think i want to try college one more time just this time get a degree and do something compassionate instead of working in a line of work or retail with miserable people with little or no faith. I didn’t though instead i said ya know what I wonder if this is really where i am suppose to be…

an I am pretty much saying Here I am, do you want me ?

I have turned in my application packet, the scariest thing i have ever done, more so than joining the army… been rejected so many times in my life on various things, an i know how much that hurt an how long it took to recover from that rejection, and if I am wrong, if I am rejected, it isn’t i hope i can recover, i know i will, my past and my faith has proven that, but perhaps it will be how long will it take me to get over it ?

will i rejoice and be thankful that i had the courage to take this leap in faith, or will be a lost mess again having to pick up the pieces. I don’t know. I have a feeling it will be a mix of both.


#17

You are definitely not alone! It seems silly, but the hardest part for my discernment so far has been finding out how to tell my family and loved ones. It just takes time and lots of prayer!

I’ll add you to my prayer list!


#18

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