Please help me. My vocational discernment is driving me crazy

Hello everyone,

Greetings. I am in need of some sort of guidance, advice, any personal stories, or anything that will help me during this time. I am going through a rough stretch right now in my spiritual life. I do not know what God wants from me, and it is driving me mentally insane. Half of me thinks I should apply and enter seminary because of previous ‘signs.’ For example, my religion teacher in middle school who is a nun told me that she thinks I would make a great priest. Also, I remember in college when I was praying during adoration right before graduation, I told God that I will do anything he wants. I just want You to lead me to the right path and give me the correct signs. So literally the next day when I was outside a local seminary, one of the parishioners asked me if I have ever thought about becoming one, so I do not know whether that was God answering my prayer and giving me a sign or simply just a coincidence. This is only half of me.

The other half of me wants to get married. I want to have a romantic relationship. I want that partner that I can commit my life to and help and push her to get to Heaven, and vice versa. I want that ‘special someone’ to prayer the rosary together. Go to mass together. Go to adoration together. Lastly, I want that special someone to raise a good Catholic family together. I have been praying to God for that ‘special someone’ and finally met this amazing girl who matches all the qualities. So I do not know whether this is also a sign from God. However, I have yet to develop the courage to ask her out. If I do and she says no, then I am worried I am not called to vocation of marriage. If she says yes and things go well, I worry that I would like to marry her but I will be stressing if I will anger God because He might want to be a priest instead.

I have spoken to a couple of priests about my experiences, and they all give me different answers.

The thing is, I think / I have this mentality that I HAVE TO enter seminary and become a priest because it will be the only way I can get to Heaven. I watch ordination videos and it is so beautiful seeing these people lay on the ground and consecrate themselves to Christ and His Church. I also read that St. Paul teaches that it is better for men to become priests than to get married. He says:

“Now concerning the things about which you wrote, it is good for a man not to touch a woman.”

and

“But I say to the unmarried and to widows that it is good for them if they remain even as I.”

Lastly, Jesus said: “Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.”

I feel the only way that I can ‘pick up my cross’ and follow Christ is by consecrating myself to the Church, thus joining seminary.

I fear that I will go to hell if I ignore my vocation or decide to choose a different vocation that God did not have planned for me. Please help.

Thank you my brothers and sisters and God bless.

1 Like

Some very good resources for you to check out. You will be in my prayers, and God Bless!

3 Likes

Okay so let’s deal with this first since it’s the easiest to answer - no; you won’t go to hell if you choose the “wrong” vocation. If you think that entering the seminary and becoming a priest is the only way you can get to heaven then, to be blunt, don’t enter the seminary and definitely don’t become a priest. You’ll hate it and enter up being bitter and probably leaving because your motivations are all wrong - you feel you have to do it rather than wanting to do it for selfless reasons.

It may well be that God is calling you to priesthood and that this girl is all part of the overall master plan which, while it remains hidden from you now, will be revealed in the Lord’s time. On the other hand, the opposite might well be true. That is, after all, what discernment’s all about. What I would say though, is that it’s not a good idea to enter a seminary with conflicted feelings about your call - it doesn’t do you or your classmates any good. Remember, things happen in the Lord’s time, not ours and so just slow down take the time to actually journey rather than rushing towards a definitive destination. Finally, be honest - both with yourself and with others - if you apply to the seminary be open about your feelings for this girl with the vocations director. If you decide to start a relationship with the girl, be honest with her about your feelings for the priesthood.

2 Likes

You are expressing a lot of sincerity towards being a family man. But you’re reasons for entering a seminary amount to: someone else’s opinion, a coincidence, misinterpreted scripture, and fear.

It doesn’t seem to difficult to figure this one out.

1 Like

If you feel you have to become a priest, you probably won’t make it through the seminary. If you have a desire, however, and also the desire to be married, I would suggest choosing one priest to be your spiritual director to help you grow in holiness and discern your vocation.

A priest I admire once said something about the conflicting vocations. He said that he often hears from people discerning a vocation to the priesthood that they also feel called to marriage. But of course they’re called to marriage – we’re sexual beings! Almost everyone is called to marriage. But not almost everyone is called to the priesthood.

Priestly celibacy is not because people called to the priesthood aren’t called to marriage; it’s a sacrifice made to better serve God and the Church.

1 Like

I am saying a little of what the person above said… the call to priesthood and the call to marriage (from what I hear not personal experience )… anyway as I was saying the call is to ‘fatherhood’ fatherhood in the usual sense of ones own children in the physical sense or spiritual fatherhood. You see their is a difference but the call is like Fr Mike says in one of his video’s someone thoughtfully posted… you have not discerned wrong, you just haven’t got all the data yet. You simply feel the call to fatherhood, that is great. Now to fine tune, is it spiritual fatherhood or physical fatherhood? They can be similar… at least the feeling behind them. So my advice to you is firstly, relax, chill out… stressing about things is never good for your soul. Pray, give God all your worries, simply say to him, here they are, I dont know what to do with them. tell him how weak you are, how lost you are without him to guide you and sit back and wait for him to show you something. You can also ask Mary to be a mother to you, she can come to you and calm you peacefully as your mother does. When you feel a little more relaxed, look into gathering more information on the priesthood and visiting a seminary for a day visit and see how you feel. I only mention the seminary first as it would seem to me that it is best to get to the bottom of this first. If you ask the girl out and get involved with her only to realise you do want to explore the seminary you will only hurt her and yourself. If it happens that way so be it, but if it can be avoided then try to do that. I am not saying one is better than another. St Paul had his reasons for saying that, at that time, do remember that he thought the second coming was any day literally and not sometime in the future. Do speak to a spiritual director and or your confessor as some of these ideas could be temptations.

This topic was automatically closed 14 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.