Discernment Weekend


#1

So this last weekend, 11 men including myself went to Major Heart Major Seminary in Detroit for a discernment weekend. It was one of the best experiences of my life.

Anyone who is discerning the priesthood, I would highly recommend going to a discernment weekend.

Ours went from Thursday evening (6:30 pm) until Sunday at about noon. We had a holy hours on thursday evening and friday morning, along with general congregating with seminarians every night at 9 pm in the in-building pub. We also prayed the liturgy of the hours with seminarians, and also were able to sit in on a class and have a few talks from priests and seminarians about seminary life and discernment in general.

All-in-all, I still am taking everything in even though I have been home for 3 days now. It was awesome. I would ask that anyone who can, to pray for those discerning the priesthood, that they can hear God's call loud and clear.

One of the best things I heard this weekend was from a priest while talking about the 4 pillars of priestly formation. He talked about how those discerning the priesthood have a hard time because we constantly ask ourselves "Am I called to be a priest? Am I called to marriage? Am I called to be a priest? Am I called to marriage?" back and forth all the doo dah day. And really that isn't the way we should look at it.

We are all called to marriage. The way we are designed biologically is to be with a woman. Being called to marriage is a given. We don't need to ask that question. The question we need to ask is "Am I called to the priesthood?" Do I love Jesus enough to sacrifice myself for the sake of the kingdom of God? If the answer is that you are not called to the priesthood, then you are called to marriage. It was one of those moments that you just go "a-ha!"


#2

I went on a discernment weekend the weekend before Christmas, and it was truly an experience. It lasted from Friday evening from about 6:00 p.m. until Sunday around noon. The retreat was a silent retreat from Friday night until Saturday night. It was really an awesome experience and got me to listen to God more. We had adoration quite a few times, and it was nice just to sit there in the silence and dwell in the presence of the Lord. It was different for me because I've never been on a silent retreat, and it really does help to put the craziness of the world away for one weekend, especially since it was Christmas time and everyone was all anxious and preparing for the upcoming holiday season. I got to have a one-on-one talk with the vocations director and got to go to Confession as well, so I was on fire that weekend. I always come home rejuvienated.

I love to go on retreats because it's all about putting away the worries of the world and focusing on the will of God.


#3

Brian,
I will keep you in my prayers. I am, for the first time, going on a retreat this weekend. Please pray for me as well. I have some difficult things to discern.

"Do I love Jesus enough to sacrifice myself for the sake of the kingdom of God?" This question applies equally to marriage as well. Any couple who is not ready to say yes to this is REALLY not ready for marriage.
"If the answer is that you are not called to the priesthood, then you are called to marriage." not necessarily, you could become a religious brother. The thing we are all called to is to love God with all our hearts, minds, souls, and strengths and to love our neighbor as ourselves. The thing to be determined is if it is expedient to make vows of obedience, chastity, and/or poverty. The question is, are you sincere about taking a vow of chastity and obedience and are you doing it with right intentions?

I have begun to think that the "called" mentality is dangerous. We are all called to love god and we are all invited to live out religious life. The danger that I see is that if a man bases his vows on his assumption of being called and later decides that he is not called he might make the false assumption that his vows are not valid.

If life does take me down the road of priesthood I expect that there will be many times that I will not "feel" called. The same would be true of marriage. I think that is something I should reflect upon now.

Peace be with you,
-Brian


#4

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