Help with discernment


#1

Hi, everyone. This is the first time I’ve really posted anything like this, so here goes:
I am currently in my first year of college, discerning between diocesan priesthood and the married life. I first felt “called” to the priesthood about a year ago, and since then I’ve been trying to attend certain events in my archdiocese for help in discerning priesthood, but to no avail.:frowning:
I have spoken with priests (about 4) about my calling, and they all agree that I should finish my college studies, which will be in about 4 or 5 years, and then go to seminary. But recently, I’ve met a nice girl, or more correctly, I’ve had an on-again, off-again crush on her for about 3 or 4 years, and only just recently started talking to her and hanging out with her. I had never thought that I’d be able to talk to her, let alone be friends with her! Can anyone help me out with this? Would it be okay to date her?


#2

I'm currently in discernment myself, but leaning heavily toward the seminary and diocesan priesthood.

I would recommend you try to get a spiritual director (priest) to guide you as you decide your path. I could recommend an excellent book also: "Discernment of Spirits" by Fr. Timothy Gallagher, OMV.

As far as dating, to be fair you might mention to her that you are in discernment. If you've done that already, kudos. But in your circumstances I encourage you to get help from someone you trust, and face to face. A forum like this will not be the absolute best resource to meet your needs. A spiritual director would be indispensable.

One final thought. There's a reason most dioceses today (if not all) recommend that young men experience college first, before deciding on seminary: if you make it through college without being drawn specifically toward marriage then it becomes a bit clearer that God may be calling you to something else. I hope that makes sense. ;)

May God continue to bless you on your journey!

Tom


#3

Thanks, Tom, I appreciate the advice. I used to have a priest as my spiritual director, but he has since moved away, and I haven't gotten around to finding a new one, but I'm working on it.
We haven't started dating, but we have been hanging out, and I've mentioned my discernment to her already. The main thing that is keeping me admitting my feelings to her is that I'm 19 years old, and she is 16 (17 in a couple of weeks) and I don't want her to think that I'm a creep or that I have bad intentions, because I don't. But if I wait until she's 17 and I don't tell her how I feel soon, I think she might friend-zone me. Any advice on this situation?


#4

[quote="Gfyuwatr7, post:1, topic:322952"]
Hi, everyone. This is the first time I've really posted anything like this, so here goes:
I am currently in my first year of college, discerning between diocesan priesthood and the married life. I first felt "called" to the priesthood about a year ago, and since then I've been trying to attend certain events in my archdiocese for help in discerning priesthood, but to no avail.:(
I have spoken with priests (about 4) about my calling, and they all agree that I should finish my college studies, which will be in about 4 or 5 years, and then go to seminary. But recently, I've met a nice girl, or more correctly, I've had an on-again, off-again crush on her for about 3 or 4 years, and only just recently started talking to her and hanging out with her. I had never thought that I'd be able to talk to her, let alone be friends with her! Can anyone help me out with this? Would it be okay to date her?

[/quote]

I think it's really important for you to have a **single spiritual director **when discerning religious life who can consistently help you with questions like "should I date or not?", even if you were told to wait to enter the seminary.

While your official priestly studies may be on hold for the time being, the rest of your life isn't.

As always, you'll probably find a good share of yes and no to your question, but what you are experiencing is too important to be thought out entirely on here.


#5

While I may not have a spiritual director, I have spoken with the Vocations Director of my archdiocese about this situation, he encouraged me to date her, but to let her know that I’m also discerning the priesthood (which I have done:)). Thanks for the advice.


#6

[quote="Gfyuwatr7, post:3, topic:322952"]
Thanks, Tom, I appreciate the advice. I used to have a priest as my spiritual director, but he has since moved away, and I haven't gotten around to finding a new one, but I'm working on it.
We haven't started dating, but we have been hanging out, and I've mentioned my discernment to her already. The main thing that is keeping me admitting my feelings to her is that I'm 19 years old, and she is 16 (17 in a couple of weeks) and I don't want her to think that I'm a creep or that I have bad intentions, because I don't. But if I wait until she's 17 and I don't tell her how I feel soon, I think she might friend-zone me. Any advice on this situation?

[/quote]

I see. I honestly think that you can show interest in her without having bad intentions. In my opinion, you don't have to overload her about your feelings. Maybe just give her a hint. By the way, words are only a part of communication. If you ask her out on what's obviously a date, that will "tell" her something right there, without you saying a word.

Hope that helps a little. :)

Tom


#7

[quote="SuperLuigi, post:4, topic:322952"]
I think it's really important for you to have a **single spiritual director **when discerning religious life who can consistently help you with questions like "should I date or not?", even if you were told to wait to enter the seminary.

While your official priestly studies may be on hold for the time being, the rest of your life isn't.

As always, you'll probably find a good share of yes and no to your question, but what you are experiencing is too important to be thought out entirely on here.

[/quote]

I think this is good advice. The rest of us can't really answer this question for you. I would advise that you pray, seek the advice of a spiritual director, and also speak to and consult your parish priest.


#8

Would it be okay? Absolutely! An important part of any discernment process is being open to God’s will for you which may involve you following a path different from the one you had intended. At this stage, your vocational journey is still very much in its early stages and so it’s important that you don’t try to shut yourself off from other callings. It’s also important for somebody who wants to be a priest to be able to relate to the opposite sex in a mature and pastoral way so in this regard, experience of dating is actually quite helpful. So I would say go for it but at the same time be open about your calling to priesthood (as well as your feelings for her) and just let God guide the relationship where He wants it to go.


#9

Thanks for all of your advice, everyone. I'm feeling better about this already. I'll definitely try to put this into practice. God Bless you all!


#10

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.