Thanks for taking the time to read this.
I’m in an interesting predicament right now. I have read a lot about people considering the priesthood, and that often one of the factors is the candidate does not think they should be a priest but in the end decides they should.
I have been driven and focused my whole life, nearly always knowing what I want to pursue. I am a strong Catholic; attending Mass every Sunday and Catholic school my whole life.
Recently, the thought of being a priest has surfaced in my mind. However, I really, really, do not want to be one. It seems like it’s just a nag in the back of my brain, with an overwhelming feeling that I am just being guilted into it because “it’s the right thing to do.” People have somewhat jokingly tossed around the idea that I’d make a good priest, but a vast, overwhelming majority more have supported me and told me how successful I could be with the career I want to pursue. I would love to have a family, do the job I love, and live a happy life how I had envisioned it. Whenever I feel like this is fully what I want to do, I feel inspired; like I can achieve a lot. But then I just get that dreaded, sinking feeling when the priesthood pops back into my mind. It may also just be a teenage phase.
I just can’t rid myself of the thought of being a priest; it’s just a nagging, re-occurring thought. To be honest, I don’t even really feel like I would be best cut out for a priest’s lifestyle. Maybe it’s because I have never seriously dated, but it just always seems to come back up. Maybe too it’s because I am still young and there are a lot of thoughts running through my head as my brain continues to form. I should probably mention that I often feel guilty and compelled to do things, almost, if not completely, to the point of OCD.
I have read many forum posts directing these kinds of situations to a spiritual advisor. I got frustrated when I kept reading that answer, so I decided to post on my own. I respectfully ask that whoever answers this, if you could please offer some insight/direction just in the answer to this post without sending me elsewhere. I would greatly appreciate it.
I don’t know how helpful you will find my advice, and I don’t know how acurate it is, this is just my personal opinion.
Personally, I believe I can relate to a bit of what you have said here, and I believe if He wants you in the priesthood, than He will find a way to get you there in spite of the obstacles.
So my advice would be to not worry about it, live your life as per norm, living the Gospel, and if He wants you in the priesthood, then you will probably get several things pointing you in that direction until you can no longer ignore them. If your meant to be there, I believe He will find a way to get you there.
So if you are ambiguous about whether you should or not, than don’t worry about it for now, keep living the Gospel, and I believe He will send you more signs and things until it clears up your ambiguity if that’s where He wants you.
If this doesn’t help, please feel free to disregard it.
‘Jesus I Trust in You’ (St Faustina)
Pray the Chaplet of Divine Mercy and ask that He leads you and keeps you along the path He desires for you.
And also, please feel free to reply/refute anything I’ve said.
Thank you for reading
You want a clear answer, Sportsfan, and so I’ll give you a clear answer, and that is no. Not now at least. Your motivation is at this time too unclear, and the thought of this is not embraced with a sort of peace, serenity, and trust in God’s will. Quite the contrary, any post with “please, please read” in the title sounds desperate, not confident. It is telling also that I see much talk about yourself in your post, but no mention of God or Christ.
Not now, however, does not mean never. I take it you are young, so you have time to think. Does your parish pastor know you well? What does he think? Have you spoken to him about this issue? What would make you think that baring your soul to a band of random strangers on the internet would give you better advice than a trusted cleric who knows you and your family? Or do you think that we would only give you the advice that you want to hear?
I’m sorry to be so blunt, Sportsfan, but there’s a right way to go about this and a wrong way, and you’re going about this the wrong way. You don’t want to hear this, but there truly is no substitute for speaking with your parish pastor, your school chaplain, or another priest you trust, even if only for the purposes of some spiritual counselling, which you appear to need now more than you do vocational discernment.
Our priest gave a sermon last Sunday about this very subject! He said from the time he was 6 years old, he knew he wanted to be a priest. Be coming a priest is a decision. All decisions I ever made required me to have peace about the decision, feel in my heart it was the right thing to do and that God would want me to follow that path. I don’t believe decisions that make one in turmoil are decisions to make. You don’t have to make a decision. My Mother used to tell me, “if you don’t know which way or road to take, just float. Grab ahold of that log floating in the river and let it take you where you need to be.” Kinda hoacky I guess but it always served me well.
I think you answered your own Question, and the answer is no,
Do not pursue this thought of Priesthood, to actually be a priest is an enormous task,
And enormous life change, I think you. Feel the way you do simply because you are constantly focused on a religious lifestyle, which is great, but does that mean you should become a priest ? No it doesn’t, if you find a career away from your church first, then after a while you can still become part of the church through work groups, or committees ,
Or counselling , to many things to mention,
11c There was a strong and violent wind rending the mountains and crushing rocks before the LORD—but the LORD was not in the wind; after the wind, an earthquake—but the LORD was not in the earthquake; 12 after the earthquake, fire—but the LORD was not in the fire; after the fire, *a light silent sound.
Pray, listen for His voice, and be at peace.
Discernment is a process which can take years. My brother went to the seminary for 3 years, then left it, decided to get married, instead.
So, it´s sometimes hard to know, and it is a good idea to get good spritual counsel on this issue from your spiritual director.
As to the OCD, are you in treatment for that to work on the issues of guilt and compulsions? One idea…would be to talk to a counselor, and a counselor could then tell you whether or not the OCD was a point to be concerned about or not. There are even Catholic counselors through Catholic Social Services.
You can certainly serve God married with children or single. If I had to give advice on deciding, in a nutshell, I´d say a quote, “To thine own self be true”.
Considering that you said you really, really don’t want to be a priest…and that you don’t feel you’re cut out for it…and that you feel guilted into it…I’d say….you should not be a priest!!!
Why are you thinking it’s “the right thing to do”?
It’s very simple and clear:
If you don’t want to be a priest, then it is *not *the right thing to do!
The thought of being a priest has surfaced in your mind. I didn’t hear you say, “I would like to become a priest because…” In fact, you have given a lot of reasons why you don’t want to be a priest. Friends say you would be successful in the career you want to pursue. I would do that for now. At church, become active in a ministry you are interested in and get involved that way. Just a thought. Paying for your discernment. God bless you.
Neither vocation discernment nor marriage are solitary projects. The Church is a group, the Communion of Saints. There are great limits to what we can accomplish as a lone figure.
That you feel that you aren’t ’ cut out for a priest’s lifestyle’ and yet can’t rid yourself if the thought is a very positive sign that you aren’t drawn to the externals. Of itself, this isn’t conclusive but many vocations are like those of Jonah. St. Ambrose fell into his ovation in much the same way that Jonah was swallowed by the fish.
Ask earnestly, every tie that you pray the Our Father, that you are truly asking Him ’ Your will be done’. There’s also a fine boost by St. Alphonsus Ligouri.
Marriage has many challenges, and so does the priesthood.
Pray for discernment to be led where the Lord wants you to be.
We need His grace daily no matter what vocation He leads us to.
His grace comes to us through prayer and the sacraments.
You don’t want to talk to a spiritual advisor, yet priests always do this very thing throughout their lives, being “obedient” to their superiors (one of the three major vows).
I suggest, however, becoming “friends” with your pastor. Basically tell him of what you are thinking - both sides of the coin in your thoughts. Think about how the disciples discussed things with each other when Jesus was at a distance, and he would suddenly come close and say, “What is this you are discussing amongst yourselves”. How can you think of your pastor as a “friend”? You both share a common set of thoughts - you are thinking about the priesthood as a possible vocation, and he did similar thinking prior to becoming a priest, and he still thinks about what it all means being in the vocation. It is like two fishermen talking about fishing, like Peter and John, and two disciples talking about vocation by Jesus, like Peter and John or you and your Pastor.
Those of us here (most of us) are not thinking about such a vocation and we don’t know all the implications of actually being called into it.
Then, perhaps, one day your Pastor may tell you he wants you to talk with your Bishop or someone in the diocese concerning vocation - this is the Church’s part in vocation - vocation is a “call”, and the Church is the “caller”, and you would be “the one called”. You can’t have a “vocation” without a “caller” or without “being called” or without “saying yes to the call”. It is not your private movement.
(by the way, the OCD comparison is something many do when they stay within their own “imagination” of doing things rather than stopping the imaginary scenarios and talk with someone “real”, someone else than their own internal rehearsal of conversations about a course of actions. I will wager that you have had long and drawn-out series of internal scenarios about this, yet when you finally do your post it is somewhat short, most likely not saying nearly as much as has been going on in your thinking about it - it is the reality of talking to real other people than internal rehearsals)