Invited To Visit Seminary But Focused On Girl

(PART 1)

Hi, I have a problem at the moment. Recently, I met this girl on a dating website. She is Catholic and we have spoken with each other since then. We have met twice and learned a little bit about each other. I really like her and I think she may like me as well. We aren’t going out yet but we are still talking to each other. However, we are having some complications right now. The other day, things were great between us. We talked practically all day and she was in such a good mood to see me and she emailed me pics of herself later on during the day. Later on that night she said she wanted to video chat with me and I told her I was out but would be right back home in a few minutes and told her that we could video chat then.

 So I got home and we started video chatting and she did not appear to be in a good mood at all. And we talked for a bout 2 minutes (small talk) then she mutes her mic, sends me a text saying she DOESN'T want to talk that night. Which made absolutely no sense at all whatsoever because she told me she wanted to chat and that's the only reason I did it. And then she disconnects with me and sends me a text saying, "I want some space." And since then she's practically been ignoring me. Perhaps that could be a sign that she is not into me anymore but I still like her I mean I have literally never felt this way over a girl before. However, I have been giving her the benefit of the doubt because all of us have days/times in which we don't want to be bothered, even by the ones we love the most. I thought, "Okay well, maybe she's just having a bad day or maybe family problems." So I'm still open to her if she wants to talk. We've sent each other little "hey's" "hi's" and shoot up small talk but never really engage in big conversation in the past day or two. (TO BE CONTINUED)


But here is where the final bizzare twist comes in. Yesterday, Mass was ending and I was walking out the door to shake hands with my pastor and tell him goodbye before I went home. And he stopped me and told me that he wanted me to invite me to go with him out of town to go visit a seminary with him. I asked him what it was all about. He told me that he was inviting me because over the summer I attended a weekly meeting of high school/college Catholic men who got together, had mass, had dinner, listened to talks from priests and played sports during the night, basically a men’s club. However, it was hosted by the seminarians of my diocese and it was about a 1/2 1/2 ratio of seminarians and non-seminarians who got together every week. And for a few years now I have been thinking about the priesthood (most of you probably know from my threads) and I told some of the seminarians there and the word got around to Father (who is also one of the Vocation directors of my diocese) and he told me since I had attended the meetings and showed some degree in interest in the priesthood, I was invited to go.

I simply told Father, “Father, I’ll have to look at my schedule and see what it’s like but I’ll keep in touch with you and let you know.” And we parted ways from there. The girl that I am talking to is in a neighboring state next to mine and THE IRONIC THING IS that the seminary that Father is wanting to visit is in the same state as the girl I am talking to!!! I think this would be a good opportunity to go visit some of my seminarian friends to say the least, but I am in a twisted bind right now over it. I probably have done things I shouldn’t have done and failed to do things that I should have done, so there may be some bad on my part. However, even though things may seem weird between me and the girl I have been talking to, I still like her and am willing to give her another chance because she still talks to me but she just doesn’t seem to be doing very well, not as enthusiastic as she used to be.

But since I have been feeling a drawing to the priesthood over the past 3 years or so, I probably shouldn’t have created a dating profile for myself, although the reason I did is because I am keeping my mind open right now in terms of vocations and still would desire to have a relationship in my life (whether it would eventually lead to marriage or not). I also heard that dating before entering the seminary can actually be a good thing because it can help you to discern if it’s for you or not and can give you extra experience as a prospective priest to help married/dating couples with their conflicts so that’s another reason why feeling interested in priesthood didn’t stop me from dating. I probably also should have talked to a few priests or possibly a vocation director before I did anything that I did but with the crazy schedule that I am on right now it really doesn’t give me time for it (no excuse making intended, I am for real).

I was beginning to wonder what I should do. Should I keep contact with the girl I’ve been talking to or should I let her go? Should I tag along with Father and go visit the seminary or should I not? What should I tell Father in terms of my situation? I’m afraid he may tell me, “Oh well, vocation to priesthood is important and you should tell your girl that it’s over and begin the discernment process.” Okay maybe he won’t do that, but still. And I really don’t want to do that to her and I don’t think God would want me to either. With everything happening all at the same moment and the girl I am talking to and the seminary that I am invited to visit are in the same area as each other, it’s so weird. It’s as if God is trying to work something in my life but I just don’t know what.

I would appreciate it if I could get some feedback on this and I would especially ask generously for everyone’s prayers for me. I could really use them. In turn I will pray for you. Thank you and God bless. :smiley:

you have not really understood what your vocation is. I would advise you talk to this girl about the lack-lustre friendship. But still go for the visit. Be open to her about her recent change in behaviour. Pray more to respond more faithfully to your calling, to priesthood or married life.
Peace be with you

You sound like most young men who have a solid catholic background. Many men consider the priesthood for some years whilst dating girls. You should open yourself to both vocations and let God do His work. Discerning a vocation does not mean being a hermit whilst this lengthy process goes on within you. Get on with life and contact the girls who interest you. Sometimes as now they are hard to fathom and only few are worth the trouble. You must be open to life and others whilst maintaining your integrity as a Catholic. Have a look at the seminary, they won’t lock you in the first visit. Chill out on the girl. If she is as flighty as she sounds she may not be a solid friend when you need one. Look for a friend first of all. A good wife will always be your best friend first. Loyalty is everything in marriage.

I’m a woman, so I’m not sure advising young men is in my pay grade. However, the first time I met my husband, we didn’t get off to a great start–infact, I pawned him off on my sister! We’ve been married 46 years now. I would say that the girl might have just felt that things were moving a little too fast though–it sounds from your post that you’d already spent a big part of the day in conversation. She may have gotten to thinking about the idea of skyping with you, and maybe decided that she should back off just a little–maybe not spend quite so much time with you right away. The other possibility is that something happened in her personal life after you initially spoke, but before you got back to skype her and she really was in a bad or maybe, better stated, a changed mood–and just unable emotionally to go ahead with the skype call at that particular time, even though she’d originally suggested it. Things happen y’know.

The 3rd possibility is that someone talked to her right after your initial conversation and when she told them that she was waiting for another call from you, said something to her like “You’re getting involved with So-and-So? Don’t you know he’s going to be a priest?” Do a lot of people know that you are considering a vocation? If so, don’t write this off as impossible. And for most girls, if they knew a guy had a vocation or was considering one, they’d probably think it was a waste of time and emotional investment to continue thinking of a dating relationship–a good way to get hurt you might say. I know that would have occurred to me back in the stone age when I dated. I’d compete with anyone–except God!

Having said that, I’d go on the seminary weekend if I could and wanted to. As you said, you are still considering a vocation after all and it might well be a fun weekend and one to add to your discernment process in making your big decision when the time comes. But since you aren’t sure of a vocation, I’d think it’s equally important that you do make a point of getting out and dating more–how will you ever REALLY know for sure if you have a vocation or simply are following the path of least resistance now, unless you date a few girls and see where that path might lead your heart and spirit as well?

Because the final possibility is that you read this girl’s attitude change completely right, and for whatever reason, she just isn’t interested in you and decided to bail out immediately and not lead you on. If that’s how she feels, well it’s better she’s honest right? But even if that’s the case, you truly need to find a way to meet a few girls and date at least a little–to make a point of doing so— so that if you do decide on a vocation you are certain of the option you are giving up–and that you’re 100% willing to do so. Maybe this girl just isn’t the right one and another girl out there is. That’s just my thoughts on it!:o

OP - I appreciate you sharing this rather personal story. I’ve known a number of seminarians and I can’t think of a single one of them who hasn’t had an attraction to a girl, or who hasn’t dated. I think since you’re considering a lifelong vocation you need to really understand what it is you’re saying “no” to - that doesn’t mean go out and get wild but rather be open to having a relationship with a girl. You can’t really say ‘yes’ to something unless you are truly willing and able to say ‘no’ to what you have to let go of.

Going on a few dates when you’re undecided about the priesthood isn’t a sign of inconsistency. If you were completely set against dating while unsure about the priesthood that would suggest to me that you may want to look at how you relate to people and your own understanding of intimacy in personal relationships, since it’s difficult to talk about an intimate walk with Christ without having experienced openness in a human relationship.

For your present situation, don’t visit her on this trip. Long-distance has its own entanglements, and relationships tend to get serious and intense quickly because they have to when they’re long-distance. You pack two weeks’ worth of dates and casual talk into a day or a weekend when you have a long-distance relationship. Don’t dismiss such a relationship if you get to that point - my wife and I (married 7 years) were long-distance for the two years of the four years we dated while I finished college.

And for the coldness of her recent conversation … take it from a guy who has been with the same woman for 11 years, it is not always easy to get along with someone when your heart is involved. And it takes a lot of time to learn each other’s rhythms and moods. That’s to learn them and how a person is and how a person feels without being dismissive or misunderstanding of them. Relationships take a lot of time - in some ways the easiest one we have is with the Lord because He is so clear on what He expects, and consistent. When you find yourself struggling and walking difficulty with the Lord even with much effort, consider yourself blessed that the Lord has brought you to such a spiritual maturity as a Christian that He gives you a heavy burden knowing you can carry it.

Do visit your seminary friends. Remember what I said about “understand what you’re saying ‘no’” to? That’s a really good look at the life of a seminarian, to get it from your friends directly and also to support them in their vocation. I’ve often found that seminarians (and priests as well) are lonely and feel unsupported. The Enemy strikes at them constantly, as spiritual Fathers, as the Enemy strikes at all of us fathers. They could use your friendship, your prayers, your presence.

That’s the whole reason, when it come to Holy Orders, whether priesthood or matrimony that we earnest pray and discern and not make a hasty decision!

A few nights of not wanting to chat does not mean things are “weird” between you and the girl. Being asked to visit a seminary also does not automatically change anything between you and her as well.

The key to dating is to find a marriage partner; if a few days of not speaking while not in eachother’s company destroys the relationship, then a life long relationship on such foundation would not be advisable. If things don’t work out with her, then there are hundreds or thousands of other faithful Catholic woman who would be more compatible. Relax, and don’t sweat the hiccups.

If you are truly deciding if the priesthood is right for you, then any “dating” should be very light. Hanging with woman; discuss interests; find out if your values are compatible. As difficult as this may be, be up front about looking into the priesthood. It could scare some women away, and that’s fine. Some may be very supportive, others saddened.

The point is to present the best, most authentic and most confident version of yourself to them. It opens you rejection, and that can be scary; but people respond to authenticity and will appreciate the courage it takes to be full yourself.

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