Postponing/delaying my vocation to priesthood


#1

Hello brothers (and sisters) in Christ.

I had a quick question which the topic title should reveal anyway :P

I'm 21 years old (22 in a week) and I feel I am being called to priesthood. I'm 90% sure about this after about a year and a half of heavy discernment and confusion. My parents and friends are semi-aware of my desire as well and fully support it. Either way, marriage, while appealing at some points, doesn't really sound like something for me when I think about the whole package.

However, I have a small fear of taking that big final step and entering the seminary. I plan to bring this up with my priest/spiritual guider in the coming days, but for now I thought I'd see what I can get here. I feel that I may be just a tad too young and not in the right place right now to do so. I feel a heavy desire and passion to be a priest, but absolutely no sense of rush or urgency. I feel that I can just take my time and ease into it rather than leaping in and putting strain on myself. I just have a lot going on in my life right now, a lot of expectations, a lot of relationships (friend-wise, not dating), a lot of thoughts to yet ponder etc. I feel that I need to fully put all this in place before I enter the seminary because to study for the priesthood would likely require me to move overseas away from home, which is another huge step. I'm thinking I need at least another year to decide and sort everything out (especially since I'm planning a huge vacation this year, will be travelling all around Europe for a half-holiday half-spiritual journey as I plan to see the Vatican, Medjugorje and maybe even the Holy Land of Israel).

So what do people think of this? Is it an acceptable approach? I've often heard we shouldn't delay or fight God's will, but I really don't see any other way. As I said, I don't feel any real sense of urgency to do this (although the will and desire is certainly there), and I'd rather be fully prepared and sure before I dive in (which would only help to make me a better priest). What can I do for the time being and is there anything I'm perhaps missing or not taking into account? My parents support this idea as well and keep telling me to take my time and not rush into it.

Would really appreciate some comments or assistance. GOD BLESS!


#2

Simply put. the proper place for making this decision is in private with prayer and/or with your spritual director.

Do not makre life decisions based on the opinions of an anonymous internet site.


#3

:thumbsup:

Is it cold feet syndrome and you just making excuses - of which we all do of which we put all kinds of barriers in place to stop us from going ahead. Next year you will put other barriers up to stop it going ahead

or

Is it that you need time to really think it through

Either way you need to talk about it with your spiritual director. You may still have time for travelling around and certainly our current Priest (Anglican) hasn’t had long in any one country alone serving as a Priest in each. So may be you not called to be a Parish Priest but a Chaplin etc and you could travel at the same time rather than just seeing Europe on holiday, you could come ‘here’ working for a time. As to the other points you’ve raised, you will always have relationship questions as such through out your whole life. You won’t work them out via more time. Working out what you want helps you to work out relationship questions (friends and partner relationships) You will have plenty of time in seminary to work this out as no doubt with the right spiritual director this area and others will be approached.)

But you best solution to the way forward is to talk about it to your spiritual director who be guiding you through any and does enterring the Seminary really mean final step before committing? Its a learning stage that you need to be dedicated in and it be more unusual if you weren’t having some second thoughts about it all. Seminary doesn’t mean final stage. It the first stage of real commitment. How many go and don’t get to the end of their first year or don’t make it to the second year because it not ‘them’ whether academically or otherwise. So why not try seeing it as not the final stage but first stage of really exploring the way forward.

But as the poster above said any decision needs to be based on what you talk about via spiritual guidence rather than what we have to say:thumbsup:


#4

Please speak with a spiritual director and please PRAY for guidance.

A very simple book that might help you is “Discerning the Will of God” by Fr. Timothy Gallagher. This book would help you to pray and to hear from the Lord, Whose Opinion is the Only One that matters.

Be very careful about asking advice on the internet about such deep matters. Ask God. Ask a priest.


#5

You need to be 100% sure you are called to be a priest AND THEN DO IT by putting God first in your life and not your friends and vaction plans. Keep the appointment with your spiritual director and pray, pray, pray.


#6

Talk about it with your Vocations Director


#7

Sounds very wise except you didn’t say you would go to Fatima and Assisi. :wink:

But even later on keep in mind it’s all a process. You’ll be in school for a while and ordination will not be your first step, obviously. You keep discerning all the way through.

(Um, you might want to avoid places where bombs are likely to be going off.)


#8

You are still maturing. Take the year, learn from it, and you’ll be even more valuable as a priest in how you can contribute to others. Good luck and God bless.


#9

What does God want you to do?
Have you asked Him
in front of the tabernacle
or at the nearest
Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration chapel?

:blessyou:


#10

I agree with the general thrust of these people that you should talk to your spiritual director and pray about this. At the same time you have asked, and I am willing to offer my own 2 cents:

Why not put the other things on hold and follow your vocation sooner rather than later?

As a priest, odds are pretty good you will get the chance to visit all the sites you mentioned, aren’t they?
Even if you were to go overseas, anymore between facebook, google hangouts, skype, etc. staying in touch with those far away is relatively easy, isn’t it?
Thoughts can be pondered in seminary, can’t they?

None of these things seem more important than your vocation to the priesthood. Then again, maybe you do need them as a preparation for going to seminary. That’s harder for me to say. I would say, if it’s a matter of priorities, seminary comes first. If it’s a matter of preparation, then perhaps one or more of these is important, but from what you’ve shared, I don’t see how.

I hope this helps.

God bless,

Fr. Scott Kallal, AVI
Apostles of the Interior Life


#11

[quote="Catholic1954, post:5, topic:313456"]
You need to be 100% sure you are called to be a priest AND THEN DO IT by putting God first in your life and not your friends and vaction plans. Keep the appointment with your spiritual director and pray, pray, pray.

[/quote]

I just want to be picky about the bolded phrase...

I firmly believe that some people are called to seminary, but then later called to leave seminary, and will not necessarily go on to become priests. So, IMHO, I think the bolded phrase should be changed to "called to enter seminary".

I suppose I could go on about the "100% sure" part, too. The way I look at it, even if you aren't 100% sure, you have nothing to lose by going to seminary.


#12

I agree.

To the OP, I know two young men in seminary…both left college midway (they are finishing their studies in seminary obviously) and both 22. Definitely talk more with your spiritual director and pray. The discernment process can be difficult but obviously well worth it!


#13

I can empathise with the OP’s original post as I’ve been (and to some extent still am in) the same position.

All I would say is that the OP should take a look at his overall situation and ask himself if he is somehow a little too comfortable in the way things are right now to want to let go of them. I certainly was, and I more or less got to the front door of the Seminary only to discover that I simply wasn’t as comfortable with letting go of my life as I thought I was. So I’ve put things on hold for the time being.

It doesn’t mean that all is lost, but the OP should certainly discuss these matters with his Vocations Director or a Spiritual Director.

Having said all that, visiting Rome will almost certainly put fire in the belly of a vocation! It did for me, for each of the three times I went there. I’d happily move there tomorrow if I could. Maybe that’s where I need to be trained! :slight_smile:


#14

Thank you all deeply for your concern. I'm definitely going to take this up deeper with my priest and as usual I am continuing in my prayers!

*Is it cold feet syndrome and you just making excuses - of which we all do of which we put all kinds of barriers in place to stop us from going ahead. Next year you will put other barriers up to stop it going ahead

or

Is it that you need time to really think it through*

I've thought about this as well. Deep down, I've thought that maybe it was just my sub-conscience making excuses out of fear. I can confidently say this isn't the case though; I've got no cold feet about taking the step into priesthood journey. My only fear is of failure or inability to cope, which I'd imagine would be a pretty depressing low if it meant I needed to leave the seminary and take another life path.

*Sounds very wise except you didn't say you would go to Fatima and Assisi.

But even later on keep in mind it's all a process. You'll be in school for a while and ordination will not be your first step, obviously. You keep discerning all the way through.

(Um, you might want to avoid places where bombs are likely to be going off.)*

Thanks! As I said, I wouldn't want to be one of those people who enter the seminary and later begs for a way out. It'd be too much for me to cope. My discernment is something I've been chasing for years and I really don't want to push or force it too early and scare it away :p

I've thought about visiting Fatima and Assisi as well, but never gotten around to it. As for Israel and the bombs going off; the only way to legally and safely get there is with a tour group that leads you through. You can't go without an actual pilgrimage program which guarantees your safety.

*Having said all that, visiting Rome will almost certainly put fire in the belly of a vocation! It did for me, for each of the three times I went there. I'd happily move there tomorrow if I could. Maybe that's where I need to be trained! *

Oh that's exactly what I was thinking! I feel that this uncertainty and confusion will definitely be helped, maybe even completely diminished, with not only a good vacation away from everything, but a solid spiritual visit to the Holy places. I hear the Vatican is quite amazing and spiritual place to get in touch with the Church. Never been, but I've heard stories and seen photos, it really does look like an amazing place, especially for priests or those in the seminary. I'd definitely also move there if given a serious offer. However, I will most likely move back to Croatia where I'm from to enter the seminary and study there. I already know 90% of the language so I'm confident that I'l be able to become a bilingual priest, maybe even a multilingual! :thumbsup:


#15

There are things in life that are scary and challenging and that will push us to the limit. That is not a bad thing. They make us grow. It is natural that you are a bit scared and feel like you need more time because the priesthood is a serious thing and it should not be taken lightly. A year is a reasonable period for serious discernment. Just make sure it does not stretch into a 5 year project. I think it is really important to stay focused and make decisions when we need to, rather than keep postponing. I also think that visiting Rome and the Holy Land is a great idea. If that doesn't set your heart on fire, I don't know what will. :)

As for your other obligations and friends, don't let that be an obstacle. Detachment is crucial. We need to love all things according to their value in relation to God. As important as friends are, these relationships will find their due place and relevance if you put God first. Don't be afraid to arrange things in that way.

God bless you on this journey.


closed #16

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