Dear brethren and friends,
Almost exactly a year ago, I was in the applications process for the seminary in my home Diocese. I had made great strides through the process and was expecting to go before the Bishop soon at that time. I underwent a psychological evaluation however and the results troubled my Bishop. These were due primarily to certain sins that I admitted to having committed as a teenager. Though I had no canonical impediments, my vocations director made clear to me that there were too many red-flags and my application was dropped. Though I was never outright told that I could never be a priest, the general implication seemed to me as such.
Naturally I was crushed (an understatement), but I have since grown and recovered to some degree.
Nevertheless, I still desire the priesthood (diocesan in particular). To be honest, it is the only thing I want to do with my life…it my highest hope and dream. I have many gifts which could be used to great effect in that vocation, as was made clear to me by many who discerned with me. Indeed, my spiritual director has encouraged me to continue being open to the priesthood despite my (and his) own Bishop’s decision.
But…lately I find myself fearful of pursuing my dream. I look at my life and those “red-flags” that appeared, and I doubt (contrary to the general opinion of my spiritual director) that these problems can be solved. I think more often about the hardships that priests endure, and the challenges of priestly life (both diocesan and religious). I guess to be blunt, I’m not sure I want to endure all that…I’m not sure my dream of serving God in the priesthood is worth daring to present myself to the Church again…even after growing and maturing.
It’s the worst feeling in the world! On the one hand, I pine for the seminary and the grace of being able to offer the Lord my whole life in service. But, at the same time, I fear (truly fear) my sins and my past mistakes. I fear daring to hope again and being crushed like I was before.
I have discussed this at length (hours!) with my spiritual director, but I can’t find peace with it. My SD has known me since I was a kid and he knows me better than anyone on this earth. He seems convinced that I have a vocation to the priesthood, but he like me is not sure how or in what way.
I’m tempted to just give up. I have no other dreams to pursue, but I’m not sure I want to go through everything…all that stringent vetting by the Church again.
But is that selfish of me? I have been enthralled of the priest’s laying down of his entire life for God and His People. By my lack of hope, my doubt, and by the possibility of just giving up on my dream…am I failing to love God?
I just feel so confused and I wanted some fresh advice from the knowledgeable people here. Many of you already know me to some degree.
I just want some guidance, even if it’s small. You guys have helped me out before, so I trust you all.