Feel called to priesthood but want to marry

Hi, I’ve had so much anxiety concerning this. Ive felt called to priesthood for about ten years now. The thing is I also really want to get married and sometimes feel pretty lonely. I like this girl but have never dated largely because I’m afraid once I start dating ill go down the path of marriage and am not sure if God wants me to be a priest. Problem is I’m in my mid twenties and I want to ask this girl out but again I think Gods calling me to be a priest.

I’m just stuck in a cycle where I’m afraid going to a seminary will make me miss out on a future wife and if I date then i’m afraid ill miss out on a possible vocation to priesthood. I pray the rosary every day and go to adoration nearly everyday and I always pray for Gods will but I’m just stuck. What should I do? Thank you

The reason I felt called was because a long time ago I suddenly felt how much God missed and loved me.It wasn’t a feeling of me missing God. It was like I could feel what he felt towards me in some way. My immediate thought was sadness that I wasnt close enough to him which caused him to miss me, and at the same time I felt he wanted me to be a priest. I know this is just a feeling and that I should be careful about this. A few years later, a priest from our parish mistakenly asked my mom “which son was going to the seminary again?” We replied that no one was entering the seminary. This was strange to us because we never said anything to that priest other than saying hello and bye.

Really the only reason I’m afraid of entering priesthood is the loneliness. It’s not even the abstinence part I’m afraid of. I just feel like I’m going to be really lonely not having someone there physically with me aka wife. I know that the church becomes your bride but still I’m not holy enough(not even close) to where I still won’t feel really lonely even knowing that fact.

how about being a deacon? you can marry even if you’re being a deacon i think?

No one starts out Holy aside from the fact that we are made in God’s image. It’s a process to die to self and be reborn in the Spirit. It is not something instant that occurs as soon as you become a priest. To me it sounds like you want to be a priest more than you want to marry because you have been so steadfast in not even dating. Your fears of future loneliness are just that…fears. The New Testament admonishes us many times to be without fear and anxiety. “Perfect Love (God is Love) casts out all fear.” is in Scripture. Only God’s love is perfect.

That’s pretty much the logic I’m using. :stuck_out_tongue:

If you think being a priest is going to make you lonely…then you have not encountered Jesus and His calling you to become a priest forever. Becoming a priest is not natural…it is Supernatural.

I pray these links help you:





May God’s Blessings be upon you.

You need to discern ASAP whether you have this vocation or not. Make an appointment with a spiritual advisor and/or the vocational office of your diocese.

Discernment is a long process, and if you “find someone” prior to entrance into seminary, well that might be your answer. But at least you’d have an answer.


simo101, These are the types of questions that you can and should be posing to a spiritual director. Do you have one?

I think that you need to start moving in one direction or the other and see where it leads. Talking to your Vocations Director (or even going to seminary) does not mean that you are going to become a priest. Further, asking a girl out does not mean you are going to marry her (or anyone). These are but the first steps in a discernment process. So take some first steps and see what happens.

Step one: Pray.

Step two: Find a spiritual director.

Step three: Start moving forward on the path that seems most evidently to be God’s will.

Step four: Keep praying.

Don’t put so much pressure on yourself to know for certain right off the bat. Discernment is a process. You don’t have to figure it all out before you even start the process. That’s what the process is for.

a few things

  1. as other have said pray and get a spiritual direction.
  2. Just because you enter seminary doesn’t mean that you are going to be a priest. There is a reason the Church gives you 6+ years to discern the priesthood.
  3. I know plenty of guys who have gone to seminary and found out it wasn’t for them, than found a women who they fell in love with and now has a family or will soon have one. Actually some of my professors at seminary use to be in seminary now have families and are very holy men and great fathers.
  4. don’t be scared to try the seminary, again your not signing your name on the line for being a priest the day you enter seminary
  5. Loneliness could happen as a priest, but it can also happen as a husband, and even someone who works with hundreds of people a day. I think it’s a lie of the enemy to tie single life to loneliness, sure it can happen but it can happen to others too.

just don’t become a deacon before you get married, than you will be single for life.

A) Correct. Although married men become deacons, deacons do not get married.

B) In any case, the deaconship IS NOT a “no-celibacy” alternative to priesthood, it is a calling in its own right.

C) It seems that you are trying to keep one foot on the dock and one on the ship; that is never a good idea. You should take action.

Since “looking for someone” while you are unsure whether or not you are called to the Church might be unfair to her, the best course is to do vocational discernment, again, via your diocese.


I know you mean well, but this really isn’t the way to go when it comes to vocations. We can’t say, “I want to be a priest, but I also want to marry, so I’ll become a deacon instead.” If one has a vocation to the priesthood, then it behoves one to discern and pursue that vocation to the priesthood, not to the diaconate. If he has desires to marry as well, then perhaps that could be a vocation too, and yes, maybe the diaconate is also one’s calling. All of this has to be done with proper spiritual direction. But one can’t use the diaconate as a kind of “compromise” between marriage and the priesthood. One enters the diaconate because he has a vocation to it, not as some kind of middle ground.

Ask her out. You need to sort through that one before entering seminary.

You’re not going to get married simply because you date a girl. It just doesn’t work that way (not by a long-shot), and frankly it may be beneficial to your ministry if you learn that first hand (should it not work out, of course).

Also, nobody is worthy to be at the seminary; it’s coming to terms with the idea that we’re all sinners that allows us to move forward towards both affective *and *effective love.

[A Reflection on Affective and Effective Love]

Luisa and St. Vincent prepared the young ladies so they can care for all types of needy people: children, elderly, mental patients, convicted prisoners, etc. St. Vincent’s spirituality had the firmness of a farmer and was a realistic spirituality. His spirituality was evident in a conference he gave on September 19th, 1649 to the “Daughters of Charity,” were he analyzed and summarized the “ two loves:” affective love and effective love. The first is “ tenderness towards the things we love,” and the “tenderness of love.” This love, he said, makes us turn to Christ “in a tender and affectionate way, like a child who can’t be separated from his mother and shouts ‘ Mama!’ when he sees she is leaving.”
Affective love, for St. Vincent, is the smallest of the two. It is the love of the beginning, and he compared the two loves with two sons of the same father. The affective love is “ the younger son whom the father caresses, enjoys playing with, and whose babbling he likes to hear; but the effective love is greater. This is a man of 25 or 30 years who is in control of his will; who goes where he pleases and returns when he pleases, but still cares for the affairs of the family.”

St. Vincent insisted much on this second love and in the “obligation” which consists of: “If there is any difficulty, it is this son who tolerates it; if the father is a laborer, the son will make sure the fields are in order and will lend a hand.” In this second love it is hardly felt or noticed that we are loved or that we love:
“It seems as if the father doesn’t feel any tenderness for this son or doesn’t love him.” But St. Vincent affirmed: this older son “ is loved more by the father than the younger one. There are many among you who don’t feel God at all, that have never felt Him and don’t know what it is to taste Him in prayer. In fact, some don’t have the least devotion, or at least this is what you believe. You do what everyone else does, and you do it with a love that is stronger when you least feel it. This is effective love that does not stop acting even though it is unknown.”

St. Vincent desired for all to go to the effective love because he feared the nostalgia which pertains to over generalized resolutions and to affections. Luisa de Marillac wrote down her resolutions and St. Vincent said: “they seem ‘good,’ but I think it would be better if they would come down more to the concrete,” because what was important for St. Vincent were the actions meanwhile: “ the rest are but a product of the spirit, that upon reaching with some ease and even with sweetness in the consideration of one virtue, we are delighted with the thought we are virtuous; but it is necessary, therefore to reach the “acts” because otherwise you will remain in the “imagination.”

Grow in love of God and neighbor, whether you become a priest or not. Stay close to the heart of Christ and His blessed Mother. Secondly, stop being so anxious about this. It’s not the Catholic way to do this. You should breathe a sigh of relief - God has made it simple. The religious life is the superior state of life. It’s objectively good. If, however, you’re feeling anxious about it - if it doesn’t bring you peace - if you cannot see yourself doing it and would rather marry, then by all means just marry. It’s not meant to be confusing or anxiety-inducing. A priest friend of mine says it simply, “If you love Sally, go marry Sally. And pray for the Order (of Preachers).”

It’s terrible thinking and not logical in the slightest. The diaconate is its own calling, not a way of not deciding between priesthood and marriage. It’s not the priesthood - it is its own calling. I think it’s sort of insulting to deacons to think this way. It’s likewise not healthy for the priesthood. God calls priests as priests, married people as married people, and deacons as deacons. These are not all mutually exclusive.

Thank for the responses everyone. To answer Nodito’s question, I have not found a spiritual director yet. It seems the general consensus is that my next step should be to get a spiritual director. I will try to get one ASAP.

One last question though. I know that priesthood is the greater good, and by default I should probably discern priesthood first. Does that mean I should not try talking to this girl I like? In other words, should I be looking at seminaries before I start thinking about dating? Id really regret not talking to this girl if I spend several years at a seminary and find out im not called to be a priest. I of course will talk to a spiritual director about this but wanted more opinions from you guys concerning this matter. Thanks everyone.

Just to make sure this was directed to the OP poster not me, because I know all of that :).

If there is a girl that you think may be the one date her. Don’t think that priesthood should take priority over dating. If God is calling you to be a priest he will make it clear even if you are dating this girl, if God is calling you to marriage he will make that clear. If God is calling you to marry this girl he will also make that clear. It won’t happen overnight, and it may take a while to see that, but don’t enter seminary because you think priesthood has priority.

Marriage is also for the greater good.

The most important thing is to trust God, and always pray that you may be completely open to his will. It sounds like you are concerned about doing God’s will. IF you trust in God and pray to him, things will work out.

You need to talk to a spiritual director about this. This really isn’t something you’ll be able to figure out on your own.

One last question though. I know that priesthood is the greater good, and by default I should probably discern priesthood first. Does that mean I should not try talking to this girl I like? In other words, should I be looking at seminaries before I start thinking about dating? Id really regret not talking to this girl if I spend several years at a seminary and find out im not called to be a priest. I of course will talk to a spiritual director about this but wanted more opinions from you guys concerning this matter. Thanks everyone.

Well, yes, you can talk to her, but these kinds of questions need to be brought before a spiritual director.

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