Guidance in Discernment

Hey brothers/sisters, I’m currently going through something that I would like some help on.

Currently I am discerning whether I should enter the Priesthood or not. I have a lot on me right now that I’m trying to discern through and sometimes its hard to see, so I thought I’d get some advice from the community.

I have been saved for 5 years now. I’ve been walking a beautiful path with God and I’ve enjoyed it so much that I thought I wanted to be a priest. Now I’m starting to find this idea harder and harder to come through for several reasons.

The biggest reason is that I sort of met a girl about a year ago, that at first I just felt a spiritual connection for. She was struggling with her beliefs and as the student chaplain, felt more inclined to help her. Soon I felt such a pull that I started focusing on having personal talks with her about Christ and helping her find her way a little better.

It wasn’t long after that I got a physical attraction to her, not the way she looked, but rather who she was. She’s full of life and keeps me on my toes for sure. She found out that I liked her and we started talking, but she backed off. She never told me if she did or didn’t like me, but for sure it sizzled out from there, for a little while. Over the summer I stayed with a buddy of mine as I prepared for training to go to Ft. Lewis, WA for military training. When I came back, I went out with some friends and she was there again. I got the same feeling for her that I had back in April at that moment.

I’m trying to discern my vocational calling, before I met her, I loved God and I still do, I spend a lot of my time in prayer and meditation. Every time though, I think of her and I hate it so much. I would say its lust or infatuation, but its not. I know its not because even my friends see that its not, they see how much I try to sacrifice, to make sure she’s okay, to be there when no one else is, to stand by her when she’s struggling and make sure she’s taken care of. I do these things not really expecting anything in return, and in it all I see Christ working, teaching and giving me guidance. He teaches me patience and what the true meaning of sacrifice is.

She doesn’t like the fact that I’m thinking of being a Priest, in fact she gets angry and defensive over the fact that I’m thinking about it. The way she acts towards me, the way she looks at me makes me think she likes me, but I think the fact that I’m going to the seminary soon turns her away, she’s one of my best friends so basically we know pretty much everything about each other, I just don’t know how this could happen and why it would happen. I was so happy just loving Christ, yet when I wasn’t looking, this pops out of no where. I’m REALLY confused, sometimes I think God is calling me to the Priesthood and sometimes it feels like he’s calling me to something else. I know the devil works in ways to confuse us, leave us in a way that we become incapable of serving God. I really think that this is God working because at night, I pray for him to take this feeling away, to let me get away from the way I feel for her and let me serve him completely, but no matter how much or how hard I pray, he says no.

I hate myself so much, cause I feel like I’m pulling myself from God. If anyone has any helpful suggestions that would be awesome. I love God, and the Priesthood is inspiring, but in someway that I can’t understand, she drives me further to love God and in doing so love her in a way that is different to me. A way that makes me love her not for anything she can give me but what I can give her. Really need some help, I would go to my priest but I don’t really want to bother him with it, and he’s been busy lately.

God Bless.

Adam, I am so glad that you are considering the priesthood. I have heard many testimonies from priests and many of them say they had girlfriends or were even engaged when Jesus pulled a little harder and they knew the priesthood was for them.

Each diocese has a vocations director, and he is there for you. He will be familiar with all the stuff you are going through. And they say only 40% of men in seminary do not follow through, so you may just want to go to seminary, and there they will help you to discern. Keep your eyes on Jesus and he will help you to discern the right path to go.

I will be praying for you! God Bless.

Hello Adam. My advice is for you to understand that marriage is just as about God as the priesthood if done right. Where a priest is the spiritual father to many, a husband is the father of his children. They both should foster religion in their children just the same with some obvious exceptions. One has the grace of fathering children, while the other can concentrate the blood and body of the eternal sacrifice.

I also struggle with the same stage in discernment except that I am in a long term relationship with my girlfriend. She too does get upset that I contemplate about leaving her for what there is no scientific proof for.

I do have to be honest though, from the short paragraph you have written here it seems like your still in the idealistic stage of discerning for both marriage and holy orders. That could just be your poetic nature of writing but women are not perfect and can be a handful at times. The thing thats helping me discern right now is to try to distill each vocation into its very essence-stripped of positive or negative reinforcement.

btw are you thinking of entering the diocesan priesthood or a religious order?

First, get a spiritual director.

There is a point of concern in your story for me.

You were working as a student chaplain and in this capacity of ministry you met a woman who you ministered to as a student chaplain. Later you developed feelings for this woman. That, for me, is a red flag. As a priest you will be working with many people like this. Developing an attraction and acting upon it is not a good thing.

This for me is a boundary issue. A minister should not enter into an intimate relationship with those they minister to.

As I said, it is only an are of concern and a possible red flag, it is something that needs to be explored and best done with a spiritual director that you are going to for your vocational discernment and over all spiritual growth.

I personally don’t understand how this happened, I have been working as a student chaplain for the past 3.5 years now. At the time I had been working for 2.5 years, I’ve worked with tons of people both men and women, but yet for some reason I just felt more inclined than usual to help her more. I usually have about 70-80 student that I’m in charge of every year.

I did speak to a priest about it and he told me to just ride it and see where it takes you. I just don’t know tbh. If anyone can give me some tips on how to better discern this that would be great. I’ve been trying to remember what Christ has shown me in my contemplations. Thinking what he’s done for me. It honestly feels like I’m being torn between God and a women, even though I know that both are gifts, I just don’t want to make the wrong decision.

I just think this is really funny, I’ve helped tons of people with their problems but yet I can’t figure this out. I guess it goes to show that we truly need our brothers and sisters to help us in our greatest time of need, and most importantly our Lord always. If you guys could help me with your prayers I would appreciate the help. As a senior in college it doesn’t feel like I have much time.

Diocesan Priest.

God Bless

The kind of discernment you need to work through along with this boundary issue is best done with a spiritual director and not at an anonymous internet forum.

Get a spiritual director.

Personally I believe that the advice the priest gave you in this issue was wrong.

I pray for you. As someone who is in formation in the S.F.O. I am glad you are discerning vocation especially the priesthood. I know it won’t be an easy journey. Just pray every day to St. Michael the Archangel for his protection.

St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle, be our protection against the malice and snares of the devil. We humbly beseech God to command him, and do thou , O Prince of the heavenly host, by the divine power thrust into hell Satan and the other evil spirits who roam through the world seeking the ruin of souls. Amen.

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