My vocation crisis

Crisis might be an overstatement but here is the story in a nutshell: My vocations director told me that after 5 years of discerning he doesn’t think I will ever be ready to enter the seminary.

More elaborated, last year during the Eastertide, some bad things happened which involved me standing up for a young person who was being abused (and causing a police investigation into the parish administration for mandatory reporting statute violations) and overstepping my boundaries as a parishioner when I corrected my old pastor’s liturgical heresy. Needless to say we no longer get along and he (falsely) accused me of some pretty nasty things.

He said that I need to rectify these issues before I can restart my discernment process. But the problem is out of my control. I haven’t been able to talk with him. I can’t force his forgiveness.

I am brokenhearted at this news but I don’t know what to do. I have been discerning a possible vocation to an order especially the Holy Cross and the Arch Diocese of Military Chaplaincy and The Arch Dioceses of Dallas and Austin and (well not an order but you get the point)

Do you guys think I should follow my vocations director and take a break from discernment even if it means I probably won’t be able to enter the seminary (with where I am at in discernment and the timeing of seminary and how long he said I should wait puts me over the age limit for ordination as well as I would have wasted more than half my life), or do you think I should look into another diocese/order. Is it morally wrong to disobey him? I do trust my Bishop and his appointments, but I really don’t understand my vocation directors logic.

Well, I think of what I might do in similar situation. First, write your Bishop and tell him about what happened. Then try to find another priest to talk to about your formation. In fact, the Bishop might have just the right person already in line who would be glad to help. Faithfully read your bible, pray and continue going to mass as often as possible. Doing that will help your discernment a great deal.

I would suggest, as the post above me, to contact the Bishop on a matter such as this. :wink:

I agree with CB. Write Bishop ask for help clarify your side. If it was your spiritual director suggesting these things that is one thing, but if it is the diocesan vocations director that is a little more involved.

May I ask what exactly he needs you to do? As you stated it it sounds like you need to receive forgiveness from the old pastor, but how can you be held responsible for his forgiveness of you?

I live in a fairly large diocese with only two bishops, do you really think that our bishop would care in such a trivial matter as my lonely discernment?

First and foremost thank you for doing the right thing. It sounds like there is quite a bit of clericalism going on, its a serious problem in this country, and likely symptomatic of a deeper problem.

My advice to you is to find the nearest Latin Mass, and speak to the priest offering that mass privately.

My advice is to talk to your Bishop again and tell him your concerns and I know that is hard. It is not a sin to disobey him if he is not acting within Gods authority.

Yes. Another priest in his diocese is not trivial.

I know of no Latin masses other than A monastery of nuns which is about a 100 miles away. My local priest did tell me of an order of priests Miles Jesu which do spiritual direction and mass (think its latin). He advised me to see them before any of this happened. I plan on talking to him today if he is on campus.

Well I haven’t contacted my Bishop, Im just trying to discern the best option to proceed. Im scared any farther action will hurt my “chances” even more.

What would be an example of if he is not acting in the Authority or if he is. I hate lying and I assume any other diocese/order would want to know the same info about my past do you think that they would take it differently?

Given the current shortage of priests, yes, I absolutely believe they would care about your situation, It seems like you might benefit from a short break in this process with some time to reflect about your situation for a little while. Sometimes, when you step away and look back in things become clearer than when you try to discern in the middle of a mess. Your spiritual advisor may have seen some things that stand in your way and given you good advice. There is nothing to keep you from beginning again after everything else is resolved.

The priest with whom you no longer get along…is he the vocations director you are referring to?

To begin with, a vocation is a calling. God’s calling. So no man can step over God’s voice. This is what I mean: if I argue with my future bride’s father, I won’t give up on her if my heart is set on her, if I love her to the extent of wanting us to become one. Vocation - be it to married life or to consecrated life - is a powerful voice. If you hear that voice in your heart, then you should not let anyone disturb you. In humbleness you are always willing to follow your superior’s advice, but as long as it is moving you towards God and towards His Church.

You are not bound by obedience to the vocations director. You are bound by obedience to the Church and to Christ. Speak to another priest for spiritual direction, and if you consider this treatment from the vocations director of the Archdiocese as not being fair, do not be afraid to speak to the Bishop. I know it sounds intimidating, but it shouldn’t be: the higher one goes in the hierarchy, the more he becomes a servant of God’s children.

I miss a point: surely the Archdiocese has a vocations director…but seminaries also have one, and religious orders also have one…so I am not sure about what’s happening here :confused: Be at peace, and try to speak to the people as needed. Also you can, on a side, receive spiritual direction from a priest. Pursue your vocation with the strength that the spouse of the Canticle of Canticles pursues her beloved, amidst joy and amidst persecution, in such way that having found him, she would not let him go. God will then freely reveal His divine will to you - whether it is a consecrated life, a married life, or something else. In the end, it does not matter whether you end being a priest or not, being a married man or not…only the Way of the Cross matters.

Ok two things in my diocese the vocations director is the person who hands you an application to the seminary.

Also no the priest who I am at odds with perse is not the vocations director. He was the pastor of a church I used to attend before all this stuff came up.

I see. So aside from the priest, the vocations director is the one who suggested that you rectify some issues before you restart your discernment process?

Now in this case things look a bit difference. The vocations director - it seems to me - never intended for you to stop your discernment process. I can instead see in his indication a reflection of these words of the Lord:

Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that someone has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift.

Now, someplace else the Lord continues this teaching and adds:

If he listens to you, you have won your brother over.

Have you tried all that was possible to be reconciled with the priest? Did you, above all else, understand if and where is the fault on your side? This is very important. What did you do wrong? (Not that I ask to receive an answer on this forum…I just post these questions because I think those are the ones you should be asking yourself). Where did you exceed your duty to admonish your brother? If you cannot answer those questions, you should go back to the vocations director and ask him for help. Also, you said you were unable to reach the priest. Mention this to the vocations director - you tried, but he was not available.

In short: God does not ask nor does He desire anything impossible to you, and His minister won’t do it either. I think you may want to report back to him what you have tried so far, and ask for his advice and spiritual direction on what is next. After all, what you want is to humble yourself and follow his advice, that you may continue your discernment process.

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