Sacerdotal vs. Religious Vocations


#1

If a man is discerning a vocation to a religious order, how does he discern between a sacerdotal or religious vocation? That is, how can he discern if he is called to be a religious priest or a lay brother?


#2

[quote="JMJ_coder, post:1, topic:195775"]
If a man is discerning a vocation to a religious order, how does he discern between a sacerdotal or religious vocation? That is, how can he discern if he is called to be a religious priest or a lay brother?

[/quote]

A simple answer would be that they are two separate vocations, and so need to be discerned separately; and perhaps not at the same time, even.

In my own order we rightly consider that we are brothers first, and if ordained (as most members are) priests second - indeed, our proper name is Order of the Brothers of Our Lady of Mount Carmel; that being so, the vocation to the charism of the religious institute has to be discerned before a decision is made as to whether it will be lived out in priestly or in other types of ministry.

A religious who is a great priest but has minimal or no interest in his charism will be an ineffectual member of a community. We don't need a majority of priests in religious life to thrive, even though that has been our recent history, but we definitely need people suited to the institute if we are to be true to our way of life.

That being so, its important to discern what kind of apostolates you see yourself called to; if they are definitely priestly, it may be best to join an institute of clerks regular; if definitely lay, a lay institute; or in either event, a mixed institute. Having said that, entering a clerical or mixed institute is no guarantee of suitability for ordination, because the superior may not approve your application; that's another reason why being at peace with the charism is so vital.

I have met some candidates who seem to have applied to enter religious life because they feel strongly that they want to be a priest, but don't wish to live alone. Doesn't work that way. You have to love your way of life and the spirituality that it embodies, or you won't give anything to or receive anything from the institute you join.


#3

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