Some advice regarding discernment and my past


#1

Hello Everyone,

I’m 17 this year, and I’ve been discerning vocation to Diocesan Priesthood for about a year now.

Funny enough, I was never really that involved in Parish work, despite being a traditional “Cradle Catholic”, my mum being staunchly Catholic, until I joined Youth Ministry about a year ago. Before that, I was not serious about my faith, so I was actually quite surprised that God would ever want me to be a priest, if He does.

But that’s not the point. The last few years, before my own interior conversion experience at my Confirmation retreat (which brought me to the open arms of Youth Ministry), I was openly leading a carnal life. The usual temptations (lust, masturbation, porn) prevailed strongly in my life. At some point, I struggled with my own sexuality, having experienced SSA. It got to a point that I would fall to my temptations daily, and it culminated in my first and only sexual experience. While we didn’t actually do the deed, there was heavy levels of physical intimacy involved. So I was pretty much dead in the spirit back then.

But after Confirmation Camp, I dunno… I guess the experience I had with Jesus was just so strong that I just knew I had to give up my sins. I knew I would never find peace until I rid myself of my temptations. After months of prayer and staying involved in the Ministry, I managed to control my urges.My sexuality, well, I’m starting to think Im a bit asexual (I’ve only ever had one true crush in the last 17 years) Yes, I still fall occasionally but somehow I, or rather, Christ always picks me back up. So Praise God for that!!!

But at the start of the year, after entering a new school, I guess my mind began pondering questions like where should I go next, what university to go, that sort of thing.

So one day, I prayed my Rosary as usual, and just out of the blue, the thought of entering priesthood entered my mind.

Of course I was taken aback, “O God, I am not worthy!”

But then, when I broached the idea to some close friends, (one of whom was even a Muslim), and my mother, and they were all supportive, some of my friends even told me, “With the work your doing at Youth Ministry, I’m not surprised”.

So yeah, since then, I’ve been praying more and more about it, and I’m becoming more and more confident that God may be calling me to Priesthood. More and more signs are coming when I pray, people, especially from Ministry are affirming me and encouraging me on, and since I first heard the call, I guess, as Saint Augustine so lovingly said, “My heart is restless til it rests in you, O God?”

But yeah, my question is, with the kind of past I’ve had, do you really think I could ever become a priest? I mean, I know that with God’s grace all is possible but what do you think? Because most of the priests I know all seem to be from birth “Church-y” people. A lot of them were altar servers, Legion of Mary etc from young, so who am I, someone who started out so far away from the Church, to stand with them as brothers?

Thanks, and sorry for the long post

Yours, in Christ
Joseph


#2

What a brave post. :thumbsup:

The fact is that some of the Church’s greatest saints have had less-than-perfect pasts. As the old saying goes: every saint has a past, every sinner has a future.

Saint Augustine and Saint Jerome are two excellent examples.

And there are several priests who experience SSA but lead chaste and celibate lives, just as there are heterosexual priests who are tempted but remain chaste.

Go for it, but don’t make the decision impulsively. :smiley:


#3

There is not a Priest out there that has not sinned. You are a sinner, like all of us. This does not exclude you from being called by God to be a Priest. St. Paul persecuted Jesus, but became our first Pope.

You are young and the journey a long one. If you are thinking seriously of the Priesthood talk to your own Priest or someone at your Archdiocese. Look into Catholic Universities for your education and stay involved with only those who are solid in their faith.

I wanted to be a nun, but I health prevented it. Still in my search and discernment process I was allowed to visit various Religious Communities. Some will even let visit over a few weeks time. Give this a try and plan on saving money so you can make a trip to another state if need be. One place you might consider is in Abbotsford, British Columbia. There is a Benedictine Order there (men). I visited the Carmalite Order there. It is a beautiful place, your would just love it.

I will pray for you and hope that you can go to Abbotsford one day. Oh, There is as Apostolic Mission in Prince George, British Columbia you could check on as well, and a Christian, missionary based college in Alaska. Do some web searches and I am sure you will find them.


#4

St. Paul was basically a serial killer and like what he became. Look at all of the saints and you will see they weren’t always holy people. Thomas Martin worked at a porn shop and he became a monk! If God has called you to be a priest then you should. I am unworthy to be a priest but I think it is what God has called me to do. I am not worthy to receive the Eucharist but because Christ is in me I am worthy. God makes us worthy. Obey God and tryout the seminary and if God truly is calling you then be obedient to him.


#5

Do I/we think you could really become a priest?

I have a family member who studied in the seminary for 3 years then left and got married. In fact since, he left the Catholic Church, has become a very anti-Catholic baptist, in recent years.

I had a friend of mine whose husband was a deacon. There was a priest that he knew that left and got married. It’s not like years ago. There is even more pressure on those seeking vocations not to, and those who are in them, to leave.

I was once talking to my mother about the shortage of priests. She said, “Well, who do you know who wants to be a priest?”

I don’t know you, but it’s been my experience that most people who try to become a priest have difficulty for a lot of reasons. Well, I’m not sure how many years of study. Then, there’s the celibacy issue.

There’s an unbelievably strong sort of peer pressure you’d have stacked against you, or anyone.

In today’s climate, one would need to be VERY strong to even consider standing up to the pressures. We had a priest here in Mexico get up and once say, “Do you think it’s easy wearing this collar?!”

I saw another priest who admitted he was tired, that he was working 14 hour days (in the US).

In older times, I remember we used to have several priests in a single parish. Now, we often have just only one. Sometimes even the one is stretched thin between two parishes.

Even here in Mexico, we’ve had times we have our priests at a workshop, and they will have a communion service, not a mass. There aren’t enough around to cover, but luckily this doesn’t happen often.

One reason it’s hard, I think, is also because priests are so overburdened these days, overextended.

Society, in general, is into telling us to buy more things, get a car…house. If you have that, to get a bigger car, a bigger house, a plasma screen. Sex is everywhere. You can’t go out of the house without being bombarded with it all.

It’d be nice if you could become a priest. We are desperate for good ones, and I think it’ll even be more critical in the coming generation. You’d certainly have your work cut out for you!

Now, please don’t misinterpret what I’m trying to say. Some priests have also told me this, despite being extremely difficult, was VERY worth it, that there’s NOTHING else they’d ever rather be!

When one wants to go into religious life, it’s a tremendous commitment, similar to marriage. God holds religious people to even a higher standard than others, for the privileges he gives them.

So, if you feel you have a calling, continue discerning. Have we had people overcome really big past issues? Yes. Look at some saints like St. Cyprian, say, who was previous a Satanist! He went from satanist to martyr! So, with God, all things are possible!
It would all depend on you, and God!

Good luck in your discernment! :slight_smile:

I’ll close with a prayer.

Hail Mary, Full of Grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou amongst women, and blest is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Amen.


#6

If the only men accepted into the priesthood were men who had never sinned, how many priests would we have? :smiley:


#7

Great post above, but I had a doubt about this point:

The Catholic Encyclopedia says he converted from paganism in middle age, as does the other source I checked (Fr. Jurgens’ Faith of the Early Fathers), but I can’t find any reference to him being a Satanist. Do you have a source for this?


#8

Sorry if I sound ignorant, but what is “SSA?”
On the main thought, however, both respondents are correct: The greatest saints, starting with Peter, were the greatest of sinners-before turning to Christ. The important thing to remember, I think, is that if we say, or believe, that we are not sinners, and in constant need of salvation, we call Christ a fool, and His sacrifice on the cross, foolish. And, isn’t that exactly what St. Paul tells us about the difficulty the smart people have in accepting Christ: To them, the cross is a stumbling block.
Also, as for myself, I have found that, during temptations (and I still get them at 71 years), if I remind myself that they are normal, will be with me always on this earth, and accept that fact, I find I don’t expect perfection in myself, and it is a little easier to handle.
Of course, I also say “Lord Jesus in my thoughts”; “Lord Jesus on my lips”; “Lord Jesus in my heart” while making the sign of the cross over each of those parts. That, maybe more than logic, snaps my mind back to reality.
So, yes, you should pray and think long and serious about the priesthood, and get all the advise and counsel you can. Being a sinner, however, is not a reason to avoid the priesthood.


#9

Shh…careful with that, or we’ll have someone arguing that since Mary never sinned, we can have women priests! :smiley: :smiley:


#10

Same-sex attraction; urges or impulses to engage in homosexual activity. People who use this term generally do not identify as “gay” or support the “gay rights movement” / “gay marriage”. It’s quite commonly used on these boards when discussing the issue of homosexuality and the Church.


#11

Well, I found this on Wikipedia, says it’s a legend.

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyprian_and_Justina


#12

Cute, RPRPsych!
I appreciate your point and the Blessed Mother. However, Mary does not change my point: If we say we do not sin, then the cross is foolish-worse, I say it is useless.
And, thank you for your definition of SSA.


#13

Oh, my bad. I was looking for St. Cyprian of Carthage; I wasn’t aware of this particular St. Cyprian. (There’s a French one too, adding to the confusion.) :slight_smile:

[quote=alevanpa]Cute, RPRPsych!
I appreciate your point and the Blessed Mother. However, Mary does not change my point: If we say we do not sin, then the cross is foolish-worse, I say it is useless.
And, thank you for your definition of SSA.
[/quote]

Oh, just kidding around, and your point is well made. You’re welcome. :wink:


#14

God many times does not call the “able” but enables the one called.

I will pray that God gives you the discernment you need to follow Him in what He has “designed” just for you. Remember: When the devil reminds you of your past, remind him of his future! No, I am not “telling” you to discuss any thing at all with that.

You are in my prayers.


#15

Ignatius:

You will have noted that while in your past life you were so a slave to temporal life, you took no thought to what was happening to your soul. But your stopping, taking note that there was something wrong, then turning to look at your past in perspective, could only be the work of our Blessed Mother. This is exactly how she works, she stops us dead in our tracks.

So, yes you have been given a green light to proceed to discernment. It is important now to keep the past exactly where it belongs, the past. It will not be easy, and you will stumble initially and may experience a dry spell where your resolve will be tested. But with dedication to the Rosary you will make headway. Your goal is to ensure the desire for the past is behind you, since you will be entering a service that counts on you to render honest and virtuous service to our Lord’s flock as a leader shoul. No blemish must taint your new found life. You will be the shepard now, and your own personal desires are now oriented to and for hope of others.

Give yourself time as it is crucial that you determine if you can control with God’s help the desires of the flesh.

And of course at this point I need to enter a plug, …ahemmm. :wink: Google the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter, if you want to offer the most beautiful liturgy that the Saints participated in, the extraordinary form. They need priests, and you will be peering into the future, because eventually all of the Church will return to it’s roots. There’s a seminary in the US, and another in Swizerland I think.

Good Luck. :thumbsup:

DJames,
Confraternity of St. Peter


#16

But yeah, my question is, with the kind of past I’ve had, do you really think I could ever become a priest? I mean, I know that with God’s grace all is possible but what do you think? Because most of the priests I know all seem to be from birth “Church-y” people. A lot of them were altar servers, Legion of Mary etc from young, so who am I, someone who started out so far away from the Church, to stand with them as brothers?

I have a good friend who fits this description - except that he’s not a priest (he’s married with two kids) and has never felt called to the priesthood. I on the other hand wouldn’t really consider this an accurate description of my life (I’ve never really considered myself “churchy” - more of an imperfect Catholic) yet I’m presently a diocesan seminarian. Early on in my discernment, when I was struggling with my own unworthiness, I told my friend that I thought that he would make a much better priest than I would. he said to me “I think God calls those who most need his help”. Those words have stuck with me I guess because I know that I certainly need all the help that I can get! At the same time, it’s because those who are called to priesthood are unworthy (and well aware of it) that they are able to relate to those that they minister to.


#17

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