I’m in a position where I’m advising several catechumens regarding their choice of a state of life. In this I’m foregoing a lot of the pop pastoral psychology floating around out there (which I’ve often found to be of dubious merit) and instead going right to the statements of the Holy See and of the better spiritual writers, like St. Francis de Sales and St. Alphonsus Liguori. No doubt, I’m also drawing on my own experience of this process as well.
In this I’m showing a strong preferment to religious life as objectively (if not subjectively) the highest and most pleasing sort of life in this world, the closest we can come on earth to our intended life in heaven. Any who lack impediments and wish to become more perfectly united to God ought (nay, have a grave responsibility) to consider that.
If that is not possible, I’m counseling the young men to consider the secular priesthood. I strongly part from the status quo on this in that I’m following several documents from the time of St. Pius X in stressing that any physically able, moral, and sufficiently intelligent young man with a proper intention can be an aspirant to the priesthood. No inner illumination or supernatural prompting or anything of that sort ought to be required. Fitness of nature and grace and an intention to glorify God, to save souls, and in doing so to secure one’s own salvation are all that are necessary.
I find myself somewhat concerned as it seems that we lose many good ecclesiastical vocations due to want in the generosity of spirit that would have one joyfully accept his divine destiny. Thus, I stress St Alphonsus’s strong warning that depriving ourselves of the many graces and spiritual advantages offered by the objectively higher states of life, if we are capable of undertaking them, can but make our final salvation more difficult and our road to heaven thornier.
To your mind, it this a wise way to undertake this?