Vocation and dating


#1

Sorry if there have already been threads covering this topic, but none of them seemed to fit my problem.

I'm 15 at the moment, and ever since I was about 12 I've felt a calling to the priesthood. For a few years since the issue first raised itself, I bottled it up and ran from it, but more recently I've felt as if it may be what I'm meant to do - to be true to both myself and God.
However I recently met a girl who I've got on very well with. We're not dating per se, but we've met up a couple of times and it just feels very right to be with her. She's what I'd describe as a 'cultural Catholic' - baptised but nothing more, and describing herself as 'agnostic', which isn't ideal. On the other hand, one of my best friends has been 'agnostic' for years and has recently become very interested in the Catholic Church and devoting his life to God.
I don't know for sure whether I am meant to become a priest, but I have been praying about it for a long time, and feel a great desire to be a missionary. It feels right - as if it were a part of myself.
I don't feel particularly comfortable going into a relationship with this potential calling to the priesthood. Knowing that the relationship may well come to an end and perhaps cause suffering is a real problem. But, as I said, it feels right to be with this girl, and I feel like I may as well experience these things while I'm young - I don't have to make any permanent decisions for vocations for a long time.
Could anyone please give me some advice on the matter?
Thank you so much in advance.

Sorry about the essay. Whatever happens, I will offer my life up to God. Whatever He chooses to do with me, I know it will be the most perfect path to follow.


#2

A lot of people are probably going to tell you that if you have the slightest hint of a calling to the priesthood or religious life, then you should make yourself completely and totally and officially off limits to members of the opposite sex, who are clearly put in your life to test your resolve and may even be a serious temptation to sin and that dating is evil and bad and etc. etc. etc. /sarcasm. I'm not going to tell you that.

At your age, and at this phase in the game, perhaps dating would be a good way for you to explore what God is calling you to do. Certainly be up front about the fact that you do feel drawn to the priesthood, but at this point you haven't committed to anything--you haven't even committed to anything upon entering the seminary (which could happen, at the earliest, in three more years for you--and a lot can happen in three years).

I would ask a trusted priest (your spiritual director if you have one) more about this. Honestly, dating is a good way to get to know both yourself and how to relate to others--and perhaps to discover your future spouse, if this is what you are called to do. Some vocations directors will actually ask if you have dated when you seek admission to their diocese or religious order--dating is a good indication that you are open to whatever God is calling you to do and are taking appropriate and emotionally mature steps to finding this out as well as discovering who you are as a person.

Rest assured that wherever God wants you, there you will be. When I was your age, ten years ago, I had no clue as to what my vocation was, and now I'm 3 years into seminary. It's been a long and interesting ride, and God sees us through it. Be assured of my prayers for you.

-ACEGC


#3

"Dating" in modern terminology connotes a sexual relationship, so I would advise against such.

However, going out for a Coke is no big deal. You need socialization, and perhaps in the course of "fika," as the Swedes call it, the Holy Ghost will use you to touch her conscience.

We all need celibate friends. My caution would be how she may pull you down spiritually. Know your own belief and stick to it. Perhaps through kindness, and her being aware of where that kindness comes from (your devotion), you will win her over.

Visit seminaries if you can. That is one of the ways to tell if you are called. One will walk onto the premises and will know instantly if they have found home.

Blessings,
Cloisters


#4

[quote="Cloisters, post:3, topic:323788"]
"Dating" in modern terminology connotes a sexual relationship, so I would advise against such.

However, going out for a Coke is no big deal. You need socialization, and perhaps in the course of "fika," as the Swedes call it, the Holy Ghost will use you to touch her conscience.

We all need celibate friends. My caution would be how she may pull you down spiritually. Know your own belief and stick to it. Perhaps through kindness, and her being aware of where that kindness comes from (your devotion), you will win her over.

Visit seminaries if you can. That is one of the ways to tell if you are called. One will walk onto the premises and will know instantly if they have found home.

Blessings,
Cloisters

[/quote]

I don't think "dating" necessarily connotes a sexual relationship. Some people use the word interchangeably with "courting." Just because our culture has attached certain expectations to a term doesn't mean we have to do the same, or to quit using it.

What you do identify here is good--that we can influence people who do not share our beliefs through kindness. But I would caution against "missionary dating," i.e. dating just for the purpose of winning someone to the faith. This can be emotionally and spiritually hurtful.

-ACEGC


#5

"Dating does not mean sex" needs to be repeated because many non-Catholics read these forums without joining them. There are even Catholics who believe that sex during dating and cohabitation is ok because everyone is doing it. If you don't believe me, ask the marriage tribunal.

I wasn't advocating "missionary dating." If he feels led to have a Coke with her, do so. Leave the conversation in Mary's hands. Concentrating on his own kindness and seeing her needs is charity.

Anywho, persevere with the inspiration, and get a spiritual director.

Blessings,
Cloisters


#6

I would think being that age and with hormones raging, it would be better to stick to group outings, or at least not going out alone together at night. Even that I’m leery of. It has been my understanding that dating is a precursor to marriage and that one shouldn’t date unless they are prepared to get married. I have never seen much good come out of adolescent dating. Even going out for a Coke seems to result in pregnancy these days. :shrug:


#7

When I was discerning, I would hang out with other discerners because they understood what I was going through. A pre-seminarian and I used to go out to eat together, but we were never romantically involved.

The Church says not to go out with anyone you wouldn’t consider marrying. Therefore, IMHO, I don’t think dating during discernment is a good idea.

Look up the Confraternity of Angelic Warfare. Wear their cord along with that of St Joseph and St Philomena.

Blessings,
Cloisters


#8

Thank you very much for all the replies, they've been very helpful.
For now, I'll put it all in God's hands and see where He puts me.
I will stay friends with this girl for now, and if things seem to progress I will raise the topic of discernment and see what comes of it.

I will also try to find a spiritual director to discuss my vocation soon.
Thank you very much for your prayers, you will be in mine also.
God bless.


#9

[quote="Mithrandir, post:8, topic:323788"]
Thank you very much for all the replies, they've been very helpful.
For now, I'll put it all in God's hands and see where He puts me.
I will stay friends with this girl for now, and if things seem to progress I will raise the topic of discernment and see what comes of it.

I will also try to find a spiritual director to discuss my vocation soon.
Thank you very much for your prayers, you will be in mine also.
God bless.

[/quote]

This is a very good attitude to have. Know of my prayers for you.

-ACEGC


#10

Hey! I just turned 16 in April.
Like you, I too feel a strong desire to be a Nun. It started when I was about 7 or so, when I first read the life of Saint Dominic Savio. Then it came again somewhere in December last year, when I once again came across the lives of different Saints.
But just when I was at the peak of this desire to be a Nun, I'm not sure what happened, but I started feeling the desire to date. I don't really want to date just yet, but I do feel the desire for love, and special affection from a guy.
I mentioned this when I went for Confession, and the Father told me that I don't have to worry about my vocation just yet. I still have plenty of time, and right now I should concentrate on my education. God will slowly but surely show me the way.
Since you're about my age, the same would apply to you too. I think all Catholics probably feel that call to religious life some or the other time, but we must pray a lot to discern God's will for us. As for the girl you mentioned, just stay friends with her for now. You could probably be best friends, but make sure that you maintain that limit!

God bless you!
Love and Prayers,
Nikky.


#11

[quote="nikky15, post:10, topic:323788"]
Hey! I just turned 16 in April.
Like you, I too feel a strong desire to be a Nun. It started when I was about 7 or so, when I first read the life of Saint Dominic Savio. Then it came again somewhere in December last year, when I once again came across the lives of different Saints.
But just when I was at the peak of this desire to be a Nun, I'm not sure what happened, but I started feeling the desire to date. I don't really want to date just yet, but I do feel the desire for love, and special affection from a guy.
I mentioned this when I went for Confession, and the Father told me that I don't have to worry about my vocation just yet. I still have plenty of time, and right now I should concentrate on my education. God will slowly but surely show me the way.
Since you're about my age, the same would apply to you too. I think all Catholics probably feel that call to religious life some or the other time, but we must pray a lot to discern God's will for us. As for the girl you mentioned, just stay friends with her for now. You could probably be best friends, but make sure that you maintain that limit!

God bless you!
Love and Prayers,
Nikky.

[/quote]

Thank you so much for your advice - I will be sure to follow it!
It's so great to hear from someone my age who also feels the calling to a consecrated life. I wish you the best of luck in following God's will and discerning your calling.

My prayers are with you.


#12

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