Need Help! Please


#1

Caution: this story is going to probably be wordy and I’m sure I’ll miss stuff. I’ll try to be brief. I am simply seeking help.

I am a 22 yr old Catholic convert who came into the Church after much deliberation when in college. As I was going through RCIA, I began to feel called to the priesthood. I did some reading and research, talked with my pastor, and even formally met with the Vocation Director of my diocese after coming into communion with the Church. However, I was dating a non-Catholic girl (we had been together almost 2 years) and things were already not going well with me becoming Catholic so I pushed these feelings aside. It got so bad that I stopped going to Mass, because it would only make me think of a possible vocation to the priesthood and it tore at my heart.

This past fall/winter, I began to feel the call again. I was unfulfilled in my career and was constantly wanting to be with Jesus and helping His people. I started going to daily Mass, biweekly Reconciliation, daily Rosary, monthly Holy Hour, increasing my spiritual activities, reading, etc. I met with my pastor often and eventually met with the Vocation Director again. After much thought and prayer, I broke up with my girlfriend (now of over 3 years) to fully devote myself to discerning a possibly call to the priesthood.

After some time (A TON of prayer) and meetings with the Vocation Director, I began my application to the diocese and seminary and everything was going great. As the application process came to a close (I was told I was “an excellent candidate” and I was waiting for the final approval,) I began to miss my ex quite a bit and long to be with her.

I discussed these concerns with my pastor, who was essentially my spiritual director, several times. He eventually advised that maybe I see my ex and see if the feelings were still there. We met and I really missed her and decided to end my application and start dating her again. However, the same thing happened again. I felt the call constantly at Mass and doing Church related activities. The internal struggle was truly taking a toll on me and I stopped going to Mass again.

I moved to a new city (my gf moved close to me as well although we do not live together) and began a new job. However (same story, second verse) I have been miserable. My life feels so unfulfilled and I feel like I am wasting every day. I also have a profound sense of regret. My gf and I are together and she talks about marriage and I feel uneasy. I worry every day that I’m wasting her time and hurting her and wasting God’s time and hurting him, because I am ignoring a possible call. I love my gf to death, but I am so confused and conflicted on what to do.

Anyways, this is incredibly long. If anyone is still reading I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart. I am seeking advice, wisdom, opinions. Really anybody to listen.

Thank you for your time and I will make sure to pray for you for reading my story and/or offering advice.

May the Lord bless you and keep you.


#2

If you have stopped going to mass different times, I question whether you have a true calling. If you had a true calling, I don’t think the fact you even had a girlfriend would stop you from going to mass. I think if mass were important, you would find a way to go, girlfriend or not. Nothing would stop you.

Further, if you are with someone who is not Catholic and you feel a strong affinity to your faith, I think your not being “on the same page” on issues of faith would be problematic, if not now, then in the future.

Well, we, as Catholics, don’t use contraception, for example. If we would use anything, it would be Natural Family Planning. We have a different philosophy, altogether, which is normally quite incompatible with a lot of other ones, today. Would your wife be willing to cooperate with NFP were it to be a future need?

Consider that were you to ever marry in the Church, your future wife would be expected to raise any children Catholic. Would she be willing to do that?

How would it go with children? Would it be that you, and the children, went to one church and she went to another?

You would be split on matters of faith.

Would your future wife be okay with having, and displaying, rosaries, religious statues, pictures, etc.? Would she think this was idolatry?

Would she discourage you, and the kids, from using the sacraments…reconciliation with a priest, etc.?

Would you be able to pray together? What form would that take?

If you two are considering marriage, I think one way to clarify the issue would be to go together to Precana. There, they will make it very clear what the issues are, and it should help you decide the issue one way or another.

While the Church will allow us to marry outside our faith, it’s not the ideal scenario. The ideal is to have two people of the same faith marrying for a bunch of reasons. Well, married couples are supposed to help each other stay close to God.

It seems when you are with your girlfriend that instead of being closer to your faith, which you say is important to you, her influence seems to pull you farther away from God and the Church. That would be of concern to me.


#3

What the ideal scenario for marriage would be that you go to church…together.


#4

What I’m going to say will not be popular, but I believe priest’s should be allowed to marry . HAVE you considered joining one of the eastern rite churches so you can do both?


#5

The other option would be to become a deacon, but if your future spouse is a non-Catholic, I wonder if that would work.


#6

As long as his girlfriend is of a different faith, that could be problematic, Eastern Rite, as well. Well, the couple would be working at crossed purposes.


#7

I am concerned that you seem to be running away from God when you are with your girlfriend.

I think you should talk to the vocations director again and explain that that happens. I get the feeling that this is similar to how people reduce their religious involvement when they are sinning (not saying you are sinning), as if you know what God wants from you and you have trouble facing Him when you are following your own path.

I could be *totally *off-base with this, so if it doesn’t strike you as correct, don’t worry about it!


#8

Praying for you.


#9

Hi whatsthefuture,

I can see that you really seem “torn” about what to do.

Prayers said for you, dear one.

I agree with the poster St. Francis that you should go back and talk to your Vocations Director again about what is happening.

I also think that you should take your time throughout this whole process, and that if I were you, I would seek some more spiritual direction, too.


#10

Most of your feelings are natural for a man seeking the priesthood. The Lord doesn’t usually wait till you’ve broken up with your girlfriend or not. When HE calls you it can be at anytime and at any place. I see two possible problems

  1. Your relationship with this girl. The Lord, if it is a legit. calling will ask you to fully give her up because once In the priesthood any relationship you may have is being asked to rid yourself of. No one will force you but you must start deciding your choice of Love.

  2. Your relatively new to our Faith (we have no religious background on you). You’ll need first to get to know your new Faith well first. This may cut down on your ambivalence quite a bit

My questions for your are:
-what faith were you before?
-explain, if you like your feelings of a calling.


#11

The Eastern Catholic Churches do not take kindly to being thought of as the dumping ground for Latin Rite Catholics who can’t get their stuff together. This is the very worst reason for anyone to ever become an Eastern Catholic.


#12

I’ll pray for you. Continue to attend Mass as frequently as you can, go to confession, pray the Rosary. Get closer to Our Lord and Our Lady. They know what this is about.

With all intended respect, I think, in retrospect, it was a mistake for your priest to suggest you see your ex. I would’ve told you to enter the seminary for a year. If at the end of the year you were still thinking about her more than priesthood, get out and give her a call. Now you’re just back in the same position you were in without having given any time to discerning the priesthood.

I dated a girl for 5.5 years and had thoughts of the priesthood along the way. I eventually had to break things off and I’m hoping to enter a religious order soon. You will only know if this is for you if you just show up and discern.


#13

When someone is ready to go into the priesthood, I think he’d probably not only be going to weekly mass but likely more often, possibly even daily.


#14

very true. Is the girlfriend willing to convert?


#15

You make some very solid observations. I have reached out to the Vocations Director I was with (he is not the V.D. anymore and I am not in the diocese anymore)

Thank you, I will return the prayers for you as well!

Thank you for the prayers! “Torn” is an understatement. Like I said above, I have gotten back in touch with the Vocations Director.

I thought I was ready to give her up when I applied, but I obviously was not.

I was raised barely in a Christian home, non-denominational. I converted after mych much extensive research.

The priesthood is a beautiful, amazing, supernatural, and challenging vocation; one that if I was called to I would feel so unworthy, yet so honored. The issue is in figuring out if there is indeed a calling.

I am in a struggle if I messed up by not going to seminary this fall, or if it was the right thing to not go because I am meant to be with my girlfriend and married, or if it was the right thing to not go because I was not ready yet.

Agreed. Not an option.

Thank you so much for this.

When we were broken up, she began coming to Mass and saying she was going to convert. She would text me questions about the faith and said she wanted to become Catholic.

Thank you so much to everybody who has helped. May the Lord bless you all.


#16

thought I was ready to give her up when I applied, but I obviously was not.

I was raised barely in a Christian home, non-denominational. I converted after mych much extensive research.

The priesthood is a beautiful, amazing, supernatural, and challenging vocation; one that if I was called to I would feel so unworthy, yet so honored. The issue is in figuring out if there is indeed a calling.

I am in a struggle if I messed up by not going to seminary this fall, or if it was the right thing to not go because I am meant to be with my girlfriend and married, or if it was the right thing to not go because I was not ready yet.

I agree with many of the posts above… I would add only a few more thoughts:

  1. I would learn more about the Catholic faith… as you are still quite new to it… there is nothing wrong with discerning a possible vocation to the priesthood or marriage for that matter… but either choice you make would still require you to attend to the basics of the faith and not neglect weekly mass or the other sacraments (at the very least)

  2. Have you attended any discernment or vocations retreats? Are there any married couples you know that could share their experiences of marriage?

As someone who has worked with vocations for a long while I would encourage you to learn more about your faith and to also look at the “pros” and “cons” in your own mind of each state of life. Do not hesitate to go on a few retreats… ask questions… discernment to marriage or religious life is not something that occurs in a week or a month. Have you talked and been frank with your spiritual director/vocation director or parish priest? in regards to your being torn between the two vocations? What do they have to say???
they know you better than we here … be honest, pray and bottom line… which state of life would bring you personally closer to Jesus???
Just a few thoughts…

Blessings and prayers

Sr. Debbie OSC


#17

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