I was rejected this week. I submitted the strongest packet of my life. I was approved by 2 psych doctors.
I had over 15 recommendations. I have a distinguished background with two degrees and a minor with experience at a major company in corporate finance. Not enough.
I was lynched in my interview. I received a pepper spray of questions regarding bipolar disorder which centered around their idea of the stigma of the disorder rather than what I am actually dealing with. In fact, i’m not really dealing with any major issues, which my MD described in his letter of recommendation. So I was interviewed by people who do not know what it means to be bipolar and forced to answer flawed questions by people without a medical degree. The interview had little emphasis on my prayer life, my spiritual life, and my formation to answer the call to the priesthood. It was largely a misunderstanding in addition to them losing my main recommendation from my closest priest who I have brunch with every Sunday. He said he would go to the board to testify on my behalf and that he supported me 100% to the vocation director.
Yet, the bishop and vocation director did not stand up for me to take the risk. They did not even give me a chance to enter the seminary.
I felt the call in 2010. Since then, I have dated on and off and parts of my dating life have destroyed my spiritual life. I secrete massive amounts of testosterone (i’m not joking) and am attractive (there goes my humility) as well as being highly intelligent, meshing well in social situations, driven, and in many ways I get along with women well. What I am getting at is that I am often pursued to date women and it has in a way mislead my vocation to the priesthood.
But, here I am, wanted by the world in many ways (for finance positions paying money that I do not wish to be a part of anymore) and women who desire for me to be their husband and father of their children (i’m not kidding). Yet, I am constantly rejected by the church.
And… I feel the call is stronger than ever. I had dinner with my priest last night and explained this conundrum. I felt that despite my rejection from the church, I still feel called to the priesthood and also feel that I need to reject any and all attempts to date from women to preserve my vocation to the priesthood. This is a bit heart wrenching for me, but my desire in life is not only to please God and obey his commandments, but to give the greatest amount of glory to God. God will completely allow me to marry and live a happy life as a Father and Husband, but I feel my strongest call is to the priesthood. I feel my call is to be a supernatural father to bear spiritual fruit, the strongest fruit we can bear in this life for the sake of the kingdom of Heaven.
So here I am rejected by the Church, felt called to the priesthood by God, and encouraged by many priests to continue to apply. I am more positive about it than I think I would be and in the past I have grown a long beard (as stated earlier) to help with pushing away the girls, but after the rejection and continued feeling of a strong call, I felt I needed a physical representation of:
a) My commitment to God, celibacy, and my vocation to the priesthood
b) A clear symbol to women that I am taken and not open to dating
in the form of a ring on my wedding finger.
It might take 10 years for me to be accepted and I need to preserve this vocation with all of my heart and soul. Getting married and having a family would not be the worst thing of the world, but I feel strongly that I was put here on this earth to give the greatest glory to God. It is very difficult sometimes as I have dated a handful of girls who wanted to get married and I denied it, didn’t feel it was right, and broke up with them. I have abused my gift of celibacy with my ability to seduce women, but that is not my true calling.
In joy and pain I put on this ring as there is the possibility I will never be accepted and have passed the opportunity to become a father of children in this life.
From this point forward, a close friend whom I lived with when he was a seminarian (who is now a priest) recommended me to two bishops who have ‘courage’ to take risks on valuable candidates to the priesthood. I emailed them today and look forward to their response. Also, as an academic and intellectual, I’m thinking of the possibility of doing philosophy and theology studies independently, so that the financial risk of a bishop accepting me would be significantly lessened. I am meeting with my spiritual director next week to further discuss.