Two questions (one to priests/religious, the other in general)

I was mowing the lawn today and I thought about two questions (of course the fact that the Bishop was breaking my chops earlier and telling me to become a priest influenced these questions).

  1. What do you priests/religious/etc do/did when you felt the want to have a spouse to spend your life with and confide with? How do you replace the want for a spouse with your vocation?

  2. This one is just to anyone knowledgeable. Which type of priest (whether they be Diocesan or which Orders) are most involved in bringing the Cafeteria Catholics deeper into the Church and trying to build up the already established Church (instead of missionary work)?

1) I am not yet a priest, or even in seminary, but I can take a stab! About a year and a half ago, I had my first relationship. It was very successful! It lasted for 7 months, which I have been told which is quite incredible for a first time relationship. The things that pushed us apart, is that I always required a deep, personal, and intimate love that required massive amounts of sacrifice. She was only one person, and that was not enough love for me to give. I needed to sacrifice myself even more than that, and she, although very easy to work with, could not handle that intensity. At the time, I didn't know that my reaction wasn't normal. Looking back, I can see traces of that intense desire to give for the sake of giving, and that need to constantly grow in love with the people I know. Even my friends sometimes get weird-ed out, because I am always looking to grow in a deeper and more loving relationship with them. The call to priesthood satiates that desire in its entirety. Is it the prime reason I want to be a priest? No. But does it make a lot of sense that the vocation would fit me in the sense? Yes.
I would back this up with another religious, but being a religious is necessary for some people because they grow in faith and love a lot quicker than others. Religious need to love more people and deeper. They need to sacrifice more. They need to help others more. It's a mysterious motivation that I can't quite seem to explain, but it fits the agenda of "it is greater to give than to receive."

2) Definitely both! Diocesan priest are restricted to the diocese obviously, but this does not mandate their efforts to help their flock grow deeper in the faith in a perpetual manner. Religious priests are not restricted to the diocese, but because of this they tend to travel a lot. The order may call them to certain vocations, and then change within a matter of months, so they may not always have the time to influence a certain area as much as a diocesan priest might. On the flip side, they would have more exposure to more people, and therefore more of a chance to make a difference.

[quote="Anthony_V, post:2, topic:245740"]
1) I am not yet a priest, or even in seminary, but I can take a stab! About a year and a half ago, I had my first relationship. It was very successful! It lasted for 7 months, which I have been told which is quite incredible for a first time relationship. The things that pushed us apart, is that I always required a deep, personal, and intimate love that required massive amounts of sacrifice. She was only one person, and that was not enough love for me to give. I needed to sacrifice myself even more than that, and she, although very easy to work with, could not handle that intensity. At the time, I didn't know that my reaction wasn't normal. Looking back, I can see traces of that intense desire to give for the sake of giving, and that need to constantly grow in love with the people I know. Even my friends sometimes get weird-ed out, because I am always looking to grow in a deeper and more loving relationship with them. The call to priesthood satiates that desire in its entirety. Is it the prime reason I want to be a priest? No. But does it make a lot of sense that the vocation would fit me in the sense? Yes.
I would back this up with another religious, but being a religious is necessary for some people because they grow in faith and love a lot quicker than others. Religious need to love more people and deeper. They need to sacrifice more. They need to help others more. It's a mysterious motivation that I can't quite seem to explain, but it fits the agenda of "it is greater to give than to receive."

[/quote]

So essentially, you felt as if you had so much love to give but one person couldn't hold all the love you had to offer? That through your (future) ministry you'll be able to love so many people? If you don't mind me asking, what is your reason for wanting to be a priest?

[quote="Murcury, post:1, topic:245740"]
I was mowing the lawn today and I thought about two questions (of course the fact that the Bishop was breaking my chops earlier and telling me to become a priest influenced these questions).

  1. What do you priests/religious/etc do/did when you felt the want to have a spouse to spend your life with and confide with? How do you replace the want for a spouse with your vocation?

  2. This one is just to anyone knowledgeable. Which type of priest (whether they be Diocesan or which Orders) are most involved in bringing the Cafeteria Catholics deeper into the Church and trying to build up the already established Church (instead of missionary work)?

[/quote]

I'm a seminarian, and I won't add too much to the above answer for #1. It was a good answer: to love someone with complete, self-giving love, to confide in them, to give up your own will for theirs, that is marriage, and it's very beautiful. But that is what the priest or religious does in His relationship with God. Is it difficult because you do not have a physical spouse? Sure. But giving yourself to such a true, deep and complete relationship with God is a greater love, and so fulfilling.

For #2, very good question. The diocesan priest certainly fits what you are looking for. The reason is this: his duty is first and foremost to his Bishop and his diocese, and particularly to his parish. Now, sure, there will be some involvement in RCIA to bring in converts, conversations with non-Catholic family members of parishioners, etc. But the priority of the diocesan priest is just what you said: to bring lax Catholics (which every parish is full of) into a deep, devout relationship with Christ and His Church.

For religious orders, the Dominicans were established to be learned men who could preach well and educate the ignorant Catholics. Much of the ministry of the Carmelite friars is to show the importance of deep, contemplative prayer to the average Catholic. I could list more, but here's the more important point. Many religious orders differ from one province, even one house, to the next. An order that typically teaches may do parish ministry in a certain area because of the need of the Church.

So, God bless you my brother for being open to the calling of God :-) If He wants you to live a life of celibate service to the Church, you will find true joy and fulfillment in that life. Trust me, it hasn't been easy, but when you are prayerful and trust in God's plan, it is so rewarding. As for finding your particular vocation, talk to your diocese's Vocations Director. Tell him about your desire to help "cafeteria Catholics" in particular, and ask about the life of a priest in your diocese, as well as religious orders that do this type of ministry. He will be more helpful than any advice from this forum :-) Keep praying and being open to His will, we need more young men like you to take this calling seriously and say "yes!" The Church needs saints in the world today more than ever, choose to be one of them and give your life completely to Christ!

Also, feel free to send me a message if you have any other questions or want to talk about this journey.

In the love of Christ and Mary,
Frank

[quote="Murcury, post:3, topic:245740"]
So essentially, you felt as if you had so much love to give but one person couldn't hold all the love you had to offer? That through your (future) ministry you'll be able to love so many people? If you don't mind me asking, what is your reason for wanting to be a priest?

[/quote]

I guess I worded that strangely. I want to give a greater part of my life to God. I'm willing to give my utmost for his highest, and a relationship was not enough for me. Yes, I was sacrificing my time and effort for the sake of my girlfriend, but I wanted to give more than that because I feel God had given me more to give back. It's hard to explain :shrug: But feeling are irrational sometimes. I doubt it was a flawless feeling-- rather meant to be a motivation than being meant for interpretation.

Here are about eight reasons that I want to be a priest (no particular order, except no.1 and no. 2):
1) Do God's Will (If that does not include being a priest, then so be it. His will be done).
2) Dedicate my entire life to bringing God's people closer to him, and myself closer to him.
3) Administer the Sacraments to help bring others closer to God.
4) Have constant exposure to the Sacraments myself, so that they are part of my daily schedule (in addition to prayer) so that I may become closer to God.
5) Encourage vocation; help renew the Church so that the general public might become closer to God.
6) Spiritually Direct others on a personal basis so that they might become closer to God.
7) Offer my celibacy for God (what an amazing opportunity!)
8) Enrich the lives of those around me by sharing what amazing gifts God has given me.

Oh, and thank you to the above post :) That affirmation was great to hear!

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