I Don't Want Holy Orders

… but, in the quiet moments and especially prayer, I feel pulled towards it. I want to be a father, and the prospect of being Father ________ terrifies me. I know every man is my brother, but to become Brother ________ is not my plan.

How can I tell whether or I’m being pulled by guilt or scrupulosity or pride? How can I train my prudential judgment to really discern what forces are at work here?

I ask here and not my parish priest because:
[LIST]
*]The TLM I attend doesn’t have a single priest, and it isn’t its own parish.
*]I attend church Sundays with my stable, wonderful girlfriend. There’s no good way to break away to talk to the priest without her finding out. I don’t want to worry her — she doesn’t have faith, really, and attends Mass as a polite courtesy to me. This is some devotion, too. We aren’t talking jokey homilies and fuzzy liturgy but the dark chocolate of the TLM.
*]Since college, I’ve drifted from one plan to another. Two years ago I was a photographer, and dedicated to that. Since then, the plan was law school, and I’d be attending law school next fall if all goes according to plan. Knowing this, the following has greater impact:
*]I’ve only recently been coming back to Mass — since late October — and it feels silly to ask. Am I on the upswing of excitement? Is it really just enthusiasm about being a Catholic?
[/LIST]
In writing this I feel like I’m rationalizing it away. By even forming the questions I feel like I’m in denial. Honestly, I don’t think the answers to my questions matter, or that they would change anything. Really, I’d want some guidance.

I’m sorry to have to be the one to break it to you, but you really need to talk to someone you trust about this. The priest would probably be your best bet.

It’s not a yes or no standard answer here. Each call to a vocation is different.

I will say that if your plan is to go to Law School next year, then go to Law School. A vocation is not a rush nor a race; it’s not something your going to figure out overnight. The world isn’t going to end next year (or the year after for that matter). Spend some time in prayer and adoration if you can, and always remember to be open to God’s Will for you, whatever that may be.

God is calling you to something, whether it be marriage, religious life, priesthood etc. That call has it’s foundation in the basic Christian vocation, a call to holiness which all the baptised share.

If I was you and didn’t have someone I could talk to just now then I would wait. Live your life, go to law school, work on you relationship and your faith. Go to Mass, the Sacraments, and develop your prayer life. If the feeling of being called to something persists over the months ahead then explore it and try to find a priest you can talk to.
God Bless

You need a spiritual director who can help you sort out these thoughts and find out God's real plan for you. Call your parish office and see if they can recomend someone or you can call the vocational office of your diocese and they can help you also.

Do you go to confession regularly? If so, your confessor is a good first person to ask about these issues.

If not, why not?

[quote="Elijah_Baley, post:1, topic:222575"]
... but, in the quiet moments and especially prayer, I feel pulled towards it. I want to be a father, and the prospect of being Father ________ terrifies me. I know every man is my brother, but to become Brother ________ is not my plan.

How can I tell whether or I'm being pulled by guilt or scrupulosity or pride? How can I train my prudential judgment to really discern what forces are at work here?

I ask here and not my parish priest because:
[LIST]
]The TLM I attend doesn't have a single priest, and it isn't its own parish.
*]I attend church Sundays with my stable, wonderful girlfriend. There's no good way to break away to talk to the priest without her finding out. I don't want to worry her --- she doesn't have faith, really, and attends Mass as a polite courtesy to me. This is some devotion, too. We aren't talking jokey homilies and fuzzy liturgy but the dark chocolate of the TLM.
*]Since college, I've drifted from one plan to another. Two years ago I was a photographer, and dedicated to that. Since then, the plan was law school, and I'd be attending law school next fall if all goes according to plan. Knowing this, the following has greater impact:
*]I've only recently been coming back to Mass --- since late October --- and it feels silly to ask. Am I on the upswing of excitement? Is it really just enthusiasm about being a Catholic?
[/LIST]
In writing this I feel like I'm rationalizing it away. **By even forming the questions I feel like I'm in denial.
* Honestly, I don't think the answers to my questions matter, or that they would change anything. Really, I'd want some guidance.

[/quote]

Just a helpful suggestion, from someone else who is discerning: get involved with parish life, as much as possible. Attend patristics classes, bible study, and your parish's chapter of the St. Vincent de Paul Society. Try to see if there are any lay ministries you could possibly assist in.

Saturate your life in the sacraments and devotionals--confess, receive the Eucharist, go to daily mass, say the rosary once or twice a day; if your church is sponsoring a pilgrimage or men's retreat, go along with the group.

Even... gulp] ... involve your girlfriend.

This is beneficial--for the devout, if pragmatic Catholic--for two reasons:

[1] It will give you a sense of what it is like existing in a parish community--a very unique social organism, if I do say so myself.

[1.1] If you become a priest one day, you'll have to be able to exist as an effective 'core' and 'facilitator' for this organism. If you simply can't stand it, this will give your vocation clarity: you will opt either to enter an order that does not engage in regular parish ministry or to reconsider your vocation altogether.

Trust me, you'll decide pretty quickly whether the priesthood is 'for you' or not.

[2] It will help make you a better Christian, and help you build contacts within your community. So if you do 'set up shop' as an attorney... or whatever you end up doing... you'll at least know people within your community who can give you a helping hand.

Just some humble advice that's seemed to work out OK for me, so far. :-)

Best of luck.

[quote="Elijah_Baley, post:1, topic:222575"]
... but, in the quiet moments and especially prayer, I feel pulled towards it. I want to be a father, and the prospect of being Father ________ terrifies me. I know every man is my brother, but to become Brother ________ is not my plan.

[/quote]

[quote="Elijah_Baley, post:1, topic:222575"]
How can I tell whether or I'm being pulled by guilt or scrupulosity or pride?

[/quote]

I suggest you find a good priest to see for spiritual direction. Pray every day, go to confession, and go to Mass regularly.

[quote="Elijah_Baley, post:1, topic:222575"]
How can I train my prudential judgment to really discern what forces are at work here?

[/quote]

See above

[quote="Elijah_Baley, post:1, topic:222575"]
I ask here and not my parish priest because:
[LIST]
*]The TLM I attend doesn't have a single priest, and it isn't its own parish.

[/quote]

[quote="Elijah_Baley, post:1, topic:222575"]
Even if different priests do the TLM, any of them should be able to give you a recommendation for a spiritual director- they may even do it themselves. Pray about it- God will put people in your life when you need them.
*]I attend church Sundays with my stable, wonderful girlfriend. There's no good way to break away to talk to the priest without her finding out. I don't want to worry her --- she doesn't have faith, really, and attends Mass as a polite courtesy to me. This is some devotion, too. We aren't talking jokey homilies and fuzzy liturgy but the dark chocolate of the TLM.

[/quote]

Since you just recently came back to the Faith, and her relationship with you would end if you do in fact end up going to the seminary, it would be good to do a bit more discerning internally (alone, and in spiritual direction) before mentioning it to your girlfriend.

[quote="Elijah_Baley, post:1, topic:222575"]

*]Since college, I've drifted from one plan to another. Two years ago I was a photographer, and dedicated to that. Since then, the plan was law school, and I'd be attending law school next fall if all goes according to plan. Knowing this, the following has greater impact:

[/quote]

This is a good reason to get into spiritual direction. It is good that the thought of being called to the priesthood is at least on the radar. I am sure that God is calling you to *something *through what you have been experiencing. It may not be to the priesthood though. Since you have just come back to the Faith, I'd start by taking it as a call to go deeper into your faith. Pray, read about the Faith (both theology and spiritual reading), receive the Sacraments regularly

[quote="Elijah_Baley, post:1, topic:222575"]

*]I've only recently been coming back to Mass --- since late October --- and it feels silly to ask. Am I on the upswing of excitement? Is it really just enthusiasm about being a Catholic?

[/quote]

Your question isn't silly. You could be on the upswing of excitement- but God isn't giving you that enthusiasm for nothing (even if it turns out He's not calling you to be a priest). Take advantage of this enthusiasm- learn more about the Faith, pray often, and receive the sacraments often. While you are on a spiritual high, build up your intellectual belief in the Church, so that when the spiritual feeling is gone, you have your mind to drive you to continue practicing your faith.
[/LIST]

[quote="Elijah_Baley, post:1, topic:222575"]
In writing this I feel like I'm rationalizing it away. By even forming the questions I feel like I'm in denial. Honestly, I don't think the answers to my questions matter, or that they would change anything. Really, I'd want some guidance.

[/quote]

Find someone who is faithful to the Church (this is important- someone who is not can SERIOUSLY mess you up spiritually) who will give you spiritual direction.

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