Keeping options open

I am currently a junior in high school, and for the longest time I felt like I was called to be a priest. I always had dreams of saying Mass at the altar, and it always set my heart on fire. I wanted to do that. In the past few months, I began reexamining my thoughts and state of mind since junior year is the year that most people start thinking about post-secondary education and then what comes after that, and at this point I feel like I should keep my options open. I wanted to go to seminary right after high school, but now I feel like I want to go to college first (local, so I’ll travel between home and there, and then work in between), and then maybe enter seminary after college. I feel like this is a radical change from what I originally wanted to do (go right after high school). I used not to be open about other ways of life I could be in such as married life, single life, etc. I used to always be set in the “I want to be a priest, and no one can change that” mindset. Over the past few months, I felt like that has changed, and now I want to see what happens.

I spent some time in front of the Blessed Sacrament, and I felt like Jesus was telling me that he wants me to be a priest, and I feel like I should go to college first, but at the same time I feel like my putting it off is a result of my fear. I used to be all for going in after high school, but now I feel like Peter in the boat, “Lord, depart from me because I am a sinful man.” I feel like I am unworthy, and I am, but I feel like I just couldn’t be a priest even though I feel like that’s what I am called to do through my many times in adoration. All in all, at this point I am keeping my options open. Maybe I’m just hearing voices. I don’t know. Am I doing the right thing?

Welcome to the club! Feelings of unworthiness, doubts and uncertainties are all a natural part of the discernment process. If anything it’s actually a positive sign that you’re feeling this way as opposed to being over-confident about it. The reality is that the call to priesthood is supposed to be daunting and challenging. Nobody is worthy of the call to priesthood - least of all those actually called! It’s easy to think that there are many others who would make better priests - the thing is though that God wants ordinary people as priests - those who can relate to the day to day struggles that those they minister to experience.

So are you hearing voices? Well maybe :smiley: but then again, maybe not… For what it’s worth, I think that what you’re doing right now is exactly what you should be doing - keeping your options opening, praying, listening to God speaking in your heart and just taking it slowly. If you haven’t already done so, you should really talk about it with your parish priest (or another priest you feel comfortable talking to).

Right through my school days I wanted to be a Pilot… I had aviation books and model planes saved money and spent it on joy flights… but it never happened…
Why… Because other doors opened… life is like a raging river , has ebbs and tides,
waterfalls,sharp rocks, floods and droughts… Your still young, enjoy the ride, do the best you can at school and leave the rest to God… it worked for me…

You are still a little young to have your future set in stone. You need a spiritual advisor to help you discern if you are really being called to the priesthood. You will need a college education to be a priest, so attending college first is not really going to interfere with attending the seminary later, if that is what you are called to do.

Don’t go to college. Just don’t. If Jesus is telling you to be a Priest, you need to do it. College will be a big mistake. I know I regret it every day. The Seminary is going to take long enough, you don’t need college on top of it.

It seems to me that you are doing the right thing in taking time to discern. You are unsure - and there is nothing wrong with that. College is a great opportunity to expand your emotional, psychological, social, and intellectual maturity. Jesus accepts us where we are while still calling us to a deeper relationship with Himself. So, if right now you are afraid and unsure, that’s ok, as long as you make sure to keep that as part of your prayer and discernment.

I attended college for a few years before entering the convent. At the time, I knew I was going to be a sister and I knew what community I would enter. I was ready and wasn’t ready at the same time. It was difficult because I felt torn at times because I knew where God was calling me but wasn’t able at that moment to answer. Now, when I look back on that time, I see how much good it did for me. The relationships I made, degrees I earned, jobs I had, experiences I had, and growth I experienced have all made me a better religious.

Something that would be really helpful for you would be to find a spiritual director if you don’t already have one. That way you would have someone to hold you accountable in the practice of your spiritual life and someone to help you discern so that you can be sure of what God is communicating to you.

Once you make a decision - don’t spend your time wishing away about the other possibility - whether it is in college or in the seminary.

Prayers,
SrMarie

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