Stress about vocation


#1

Hi everyone, I’m looking for an outside opinion about what I’m experiencing. To start off, I’m engaged to be married. I made the decision to propose with complete confidence, but right before proposing, I felt worried about whether I might be called to be a priest. I ended up assuming it was temptation away from marriage because I had felt peace for so long. Recently, I had someone tell me that I’d make a good priest (not the first time someone has suggested the priesthood to me), which got me thinking again. As a bit of background, I have struggled with slight scrupulosity in the past, and I’m now feeling almost crippled by the need to determine whether I might be called to be a priest. It’s hard to focus on work because of it. My biggest fears in all of this are choosing the wrong vocation or having these feelings weigh down on my on my wedding day.

When I think about the priesthood, I can see myself celebrating the Mass, but the other pieces of being a priest are neither here nor there for me for the most part. When I think of marriage, I see my fiancée as a person who has helped me improve in my moral life, and who will make a great mother. When I think about marriage, I see a great opportunity for self-sacrifice. Obviously the priesthood is too, but based on how selfish I am sometimes, I see marriage as an opportunity to daily deny myself for the benefit of my wife and (God willing) children. When it comes to the priesthood, outside of whether what I’m feeling is a call, a temptation, or my scruples acting up, I see my biggest fears as living alone and struggling with sins which have for years been a struggle for me. Now, I know that I’m probably not being completely objective about things, and I know that all things are possible with God, but these are still aspects of concern. When it comes to my life experiences, I have seen things working out just in time (for example, getting engaged, trusting in God to find work, and then getting the job I wanted in ministry in time to get married), but I also see many times when people, albeit those who don’t know me very well, have asked if I’ve thought of the priesthood (most notably at this new job).

I guess my question is, does it sound like I’m trying to ignore a call towards the priesthood? Does it seem like I’m just trying to argue away a different calling, or does it more look like I’m obsessing over something I don’t need to think about?


#2

The disciples had it “easy” in this regard; Jesus approached and, straight out, called, “Follow me” - a verbal call to priesthood, apostleship. We have tended to somehow turn it around into an “inner call” so you have no clue about whether you are “really called”. Wouldn’t it be nice if the bishop came up to you and asked you to do this? And, likewise, if a company came to you and asked you to take on a career with them? Or a craftsman asked you to come and be his apprentice?

I would say, talk to your priest. If he makes an overture of asking you to see the vocations director of your diocese, that would be the start of an “overt” calling. If he listens but does not make such an offer, well, your fiancée is in a verbal offering with you right now, and your engagement is a kind of “decision period”, a period of “discerning”, just like you would experience at seminary.


#3

Praying to the Holy Spirit to give you guidance, direction, strength, fortitude & wisdom in your discernment.


#4

Praying for you brother. God please do this man a favor, and give him emotional strength to perservere through these very challenging current moments of his life. God bless you.


#5

From what you´ve said, it sounds like you are probably being called to marriage in light of the fact you proposed to a lady, already, are ready to walk down the aisle.

I don´t think you´re ignoring anything.

One can serve God in so many ways. One EXCELLENT way to serve God is by being a good husband, and father. Yet, I sometimes think we think it´s “better” to be a consecrated person.

I think we need to try to be the person God made us to be. If you are having serious doubts, you could try to speaking to a counselor, preferrably a Catholic counselor. There are Catholic counselors at Catholic Social Services in discernment of your true vocation.

However, from what you´ve said, it sounds like your vocation is probably marriage, are starting to second guess yourself. That´s just an impression based on just a paragraph or two, and of course, I could be completely wrong. You are really the only one who can make that determination for sure.

Also, there are many ways to address this. For example,…I have a friend of mine who is married to a deacon. He gets to have a wife and children (4 in total) AND gets to have a lot of involvement in the Church. In fact, they both, all, do.

So, remember to keep the entire spectrum of options open. There are MANY ways to serve God, and that´s just another option for you to consider.

In few words, to summarize what I think, I´d say, “To thine own self be true”.

Good luck with whatever you ultimately decide, and God speed! :wink:


#6

Would you consider the diaconate as another possibility?


#7

There´s also Third Order as yet another option.


#8

Thanks for the replies everyone! I don’t find myself attracted to the diaconate or third orders because, when it comes to Holy Orders and religious life, it’s the celebration of the Eucharist that’s most attractive. I think the biggest problem with discernment I have is distrust in my self. I know a healthy distrust is good, but I worry about trusting myself at all because it could mean ignoring what God really wants. For example, though I have attraction to the priesthood, I find it hard to imagine myself living and enjoying the daily life of a priest, but at the same time I worry that I’m dismissing something in favour of my selfish desires. I found a book by one Fr. Lasance to be a little helpful. In “The Young Man’s Guide,” he basically said that a negative inclination to the priesthood is not enough and that those who enter uncalled could lead themselves and others away from holiness (I’m loosely paraphrasing). That at least makes me think about the implications of jumping to conclusions without thoroughly knowing myself and what will make me most joyful and holy in life based on my characteristics, faults, etc.


#9

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