I have been married for about 5 months now to a great catholic woman. My problem (which I will try to sum up the best I can) is I have constant thoughts on becoming a priest. My story goes like this. When I was around 18, I think I may have felt a call towards the priesthood. It was during a rough time in my life, however after a while it left me. This experience happened a few more times as the years went by sometimes, but I always shrugged it off because I felt like the call wasn’t genuine nor did I ever seek any spiritual direction so I never really knew. About 2 years ago I felt the “call” again, and this time I took more interest into it. I prayed and prayed about it, but for whatever reason I never saw myself taking that step towards it so I decided maybe it wasn’t for me. It was also during that time I met my future wife. We immediately clicked and I enjoyed everything about her as well as she was everything I hoped and prayed for in a woman (good catholic, fun, understanding,etc). The thoughts on the priesthood left me, and I felt like this is what God wanted me to do. So after 7 months of dating we got engaged, then 10 months later we married. However about 2 months before the wedding I felt the “call” again and it scared me immensely. It gave me panic attacks and extreme anxiety because why was this happening to me so close to the wedding? It went away for a while then about 3 weeks before the wedding it hit me again, and once again I was in an extreme sense of panic. I decided to get married, and ever since then these thoughts never leave me. My mind is always racing around the thoughts of priesthood, and I can do nothing about it. I know marriage is a serious commitment, and I understood that going in. My question is why can’t I have peace in my mind if God gives us free will? These thoughts are very terrifying because I don’t know what to do, or who to turn to. I pray the rosary every day now, go to daily mass when I have the chance, but nothing seems to help or give me peace.
You have made your vow to marriage. You should definetly look ahead to this. You can always look at third orders WITH your wife as well as the permanent diaconate later in life.
Toughen up, see a shrink if you need too-nothing wrong with that-but you got married. You made your choice.
Ask the Lord to help you keep the vows you made. An annulment might be possible, but it’s likely the call will disappear again, and the regrets you will feel will be tragic. It’s possible that the devil is behind this latest “call.” Be grateful for the love the Lord has helped you find in your wife. She deserves the life and love you vowed to give her. Pray to St. Joseph to help you provide a peaceful, happy home for your family.
Dear brother, you are married and you have your vocation now. I would still recommend the spiritual director though.
Its hard to make a statement like this without sounding rather uncharitable, but really, do you think God would call you to commit the grave sin of divorce against your wife and break her heart so you could be a priest? Satan isn’t above using the priesthood to cause people to sin.
As others have said, I think you need to see a counsellor, and or a spiritual director.
You ask why you can’t have peace of mind if you have free will. I think the devil is hitting you where you are most vulnerable. You have found a great Catholic woman, and what better way to undermine what could be a great marriage that could be a fantastic witness to the glory of God, than for you to have doubts about your vocation to marriage.
My advice is to talk to a good priest (or a spiritual director if you can find one) and discuss this with him. He is more qualified that we are to speak on this since he has experienced the call and is probably familiar with the struggles experienced by men who decided for marriage and by men who decided for the priesthood.
Since it is not possible for you to pursue the priesthood now, I think the best way to deal with your feelings of a call to priesthood is to concetrate on your marriage as a sacrament and how you can live the faith together.
You have made your vow not only to your wife, but also to God in your marriage. Rejoice! God approves! You could always look into becoming a deacon in later years, but your first commitment now is to God as a married man. Once you start having a family, my guess is that you won’t have these thoughts anymore.
You might suffer from scrupulous thoughts. Go talk to a priest about it.
I’m beginning to fear ever dating a Catholic man. If the OP could have these thoughts after marriage, imagine that happening to someone who is dating a man in hopes of marriage.
I don’t think you need to worry, this is not the norm. Please DO date and marry a good Catholic!
no where in your story do you mention once, in the past or now, taking these thoughts to a priest or spiritual director for discernment. If you never even got to the point of diserning a religious vocation under the guidance of the Church that could very well indicate the thoughts were not about a vocation, but perhaps about escape from something else.
You are married for life and vowed to your wife in fidelity with the goal of your mutual approach, together, toward union with God in heaven. That is your life’s work and purpose. Period. There is absolutely no question of abandoning your marriage so anything that tempts you otherwise, even when the temptation is disguised as a good, should be entertained for one second.
See your confessor or spiritual director for guidance on spiritual attacks, and if you suspect a medical or psychological component to your anxiety attacks, get treatment.
If you will be over 35 years of age you can be permanent deacon, and serve the Church. Nourish this type of married vocation, and reject any thoughts abandoning your wife. You gave your body to her, it is not yours any more.
Ironically, this can be almost a temptation, and there may be several reasons why you might feel this call very strongly now- including a new marriage which carries new feelings and ambivilances, and also a desire to look behind and see if you made a right decision.
The problem is, if you truly married her and intended to marry her, no matter your grave desire for God, you are still married to her “until death”. This means, although you may harbor a drive energy and extreme desire to be as close to the One who made us as possible, it cannot be ignored that you can before this One and vowed a holy sacrament under Him.
Therefore, I would say to take a new look at all this. I understand that this is an unending need of all and any souls to reach Him. But, this reachability is not only found in the peace and holiness of Holy Orders. I would ask you to realize many saints have also been married. Saint Francis de Sales, Saint Thomas More, Saint Monica, Saint Gianna, and many others were MARRIED and are in Heaven with Him.
Saint Francis de Sales viewed life of marriage and family as not an inpediment toward God, but another way of reaching Him. God made Man and Woman in his image, and their union and love is to reflect Him. So, oddly enough, your path to Him is through her, and loving her, and learning the beauty and sacrifice of a Married Love, for it is this union of which the Church is seen as Christ’s Bride.
So, take comfort, and know that by doing one’s duty toward and out of love, we reach Him who is Love.
it might be worth having a chat to your priest or confessor
:tanning: You just got married, so you need to give it a chance. It would not be fair to her to tell her you want an annulment just because you feel you want to be a priest.Talk to a spiritual director or ask your priest to recommend one.
Did you at anytime ever tell her before the wedding about these feelings of being called to the priesthood? If this had been discussed, and I was your bride, I would have given you a year to think it over.If after that time, you still felt the calling, then there would be no wedding between us. Some times men and women often have pressures put on them.
Unplanned pregnancy, immediate family and other factors sometimes cause people to marry,and they later regret it. I hope you married her for love, not because she or her family was putting pressure for a wedding.
As was stated, many saints have been married.Some have been lay members of religious communities.St.Elizabeth of Hungary belonged to the secular branch of the Franciscans.
You might be able to join the Dominicans ,Carmelites,etc in this capacity or look into how you become a deacon.I’ve seen even on some diocesan websites for vocations where they have “Meet the priests”.I have read on several about how father was a widower,and decided to enter the priesthood. There is no rush, even many saints have been married,and later entered monasteries or convents after their spouses died.St.Marguerite D’Youville was a Canadian widow who in the 18th century founded the Grey Nuns who are still around,and there are other examples.
You have lots of time and should work on your marriage first.Jesus will not be angry or upset because you married. He would want you to look to his father,St.Joseph as an example.Pray to good St.Joseph for guidance,he will help you.
Maybe I should be a little clearer on how I worded it before, but my intentions are not to leave my wife. I want to have children, and a great catholic family (I always have). These thoughts on the priesthood I am having now are very confusing, have caused long term anxiety that rarely leaves me, mild depression, uncertainty, and it feels forceful. These feelings make me feel like I will never have happiness in the life I have chosen, even though the married life with kids is something I have wanted since youth. The thing is I don’t have a desire to become a priest now, the frightening thoughts just never leave me. I know God gives us free will, and he is happy with the decision I have made because it is one that is holy. Thank you for all your comments, they have helped out a lot.
This is a problem with scrupulous thoughts I think. Go talk to a priest about it. If you get nowhere with him, go to another priest. Also sounds like you are having obsessive thoughts, maybe are a bit OCD and possibly need medication to control it, but start with a priest. I was having a problem with scrupulous thoughts for many years and was a wreck. I finally confessed them and they abruptly stopped for a long time. ( grace!) I occasionally have them, now, but not with the sheer terror as I did before.