Hi I am 22 years old and I am completely bent on discerning the priesthood after college. I have been discerning a vocation to the priesthood for around 4 years. It has consistently felt very strong in my heart for years, to the point where I cannot imagine myself doing anything else.
In the beginning of my discernment, I felt a strong intuition that I would not be married. It is not that I am not attracted to women, I just felt my heart scream: you are not meant to raise a family! It just felt inconceivable to me. I remember feeling this strongly early in my discernment and still do. I took that as a clue in the beginning.
When I had my first internship last summer, I felt my heart scream to me in a similar, but in a stronger way: you are not meant to work in the secular world! There was such an restlessness in my soul that I was literally screaming internally at the florissant lights above me with my hands clenched on the chair, and walked out during a presentation about future positions at the company because I couldn’t bare the thought of working in the secular world. It wasn’t that the work was uninteresting, I just felt like I didn’t belong there. If my work didn’t have an eternal / supernatural dimension to it, it felt utterly meaningless. I realized that even if I was the CEO of the company I would still feel angst because there was nothing eternal about my work.
I came to the realization that I would be living a hell in my own soul if I didn’t pursue my vocation.
The reason I am writing this all out is that I have noticed over the years that my feelings towards a vocation to the priesthood seem to be different from most discerners. People discerning the priesthood are often tempted by girlfriends, great job positions ect. But also by fears of being lonely and unsatisfied. I read that one seminary director said a major problem for men is that right before entering seminary, a women commonly appears in their life and they don’t enter.
But I don’t have any of that. I intentionally avoid forming intimate relationships with women, no type of job offer could be interesting enough to dissuade me from discerning the priesthood, and I have no fears about being a priest because I expect suffering.
I remember going on a retreat once for discerners and the priest focused heavily on the rich young man in one of the gospels, and connected it with discerning the priesthood, because apparently the situation of the rich young man is a shared situation by many discerning the priesthood. The meditation on the rich young man was interesting, but it didn’t do much for me vocation-wise, because I didn’t identify with him.
I identified much more with the man that wanted to bury his father first before following Jesus. I have faced strong opposition from my father who is very worried about me and strongly dislikes priests and the Church. He was very upset when I told him, and angry as well. A desire to please my father out of fear is what initially prevented me from honestly asking God where He wanted me to go to discern. (it was Spain).
The reason I am writing all of this out is to ask this: is this clarity a sign for something in the priesthood? Why do I have more clarity than others? Does anyone know of any other priests that have felt this way in their discernment? I have also been praying the rosary everyday for nearly 4 years, and I think that may have something to do with it. But I also know that there are some very holy men out there that struggle with uncertainty.