Vocation story


#1

Hi!!! I will try and keep this short and sweet…

I’m 29 and your typical 9-5er. I have felt a call to religious life throughout the years but more or less ignored it. This desire has pursued me through it all. Recently I decided to properly discern this call. .

…backtrack a little bit…I have always had a strong devotion to St. Gemma Galgani. This devotion stems back to when my Dad passed away when I was 23. The day of his funeral I came home and was reading through a book on the saints when I came across a picture of this beautiful girl. I had no clue who she was and all it said was St. Gemma. There were tons of saints in this book but I felt compelled to find out who this particular one was. Naturally I Googled her and it said she was the patron saint of those who have lost a parent. I was floored. I immediately took it as a sign that I should have a devotion to her. She has made herself known throughout the years but more bodly as of recent…

…back to the discernment. I started pray and pray and pray and pray asking for Marys intercession as well as Gemma’s. One day I got the courage to ask a priest if he had time to talk to which he obliged. I discussed my increasing desire for the priesthood and we had a great convo about it. At the end of the meeting he ended up giving me a relic from the Vatican of St. Gemma. I was like noooooooo way. I mean the odds were astronomical. I immediately took this as a sign that I was on the right path and I should indeed discern this further.

I went through the process with the diocese of Allentown and they wanted me in seminary right away. I decided I needed to discern this in my home diocese and moved back home. I met with the vocations director and we decided I needed to take a year and there was no rush. I knew that this year would be difficult. I continued to look forward to seminary…and then the darkness set in.

I have felt like satans punching bag the last few months. Doubt, fear, and darkness has been incredibly strong. Before this period I felt like I had been in a torrent of grace and totally on fire but now I began to doubt myself and what I was doing. I feel like it was all a delusion and that I don’t really have a call and that I could never do what a priest has to do, even though I strongly desire it. These fears have come out of the woodwork…fear of public speaking etc etc. These things weren’t even a second thought before but now they have overtaken me to the point that I had all but given up on the idea of seminary. I just wanted to get my thoughts out there for anyone that might be experiencing a similar struggle. Its extremely confusing and disheartening to think that I was correctly discerning Gods will and that maybe it was all a sham. It has definitely tested my faith. I trust completely in Gods providence but its difficult all the same.

Prayers please


#2

Hi Mike,

Fear, doubts, anxieties and feelings of unworthiness are all very common and very normal in vocational discernment - from one who has been there, welcome to the club! :slight_smile: No-one with a genuine call from the Lord is free of fears and anxieties about following that call - scripture provides us with loads of examples - Moses, Jonah, Jeremiah, Peter - to name but a few. Resistance to the calling seems to be a part of the journey. The challenge lies in persevering through these, knowing that you feel called and the the diocese has recognised your call. Take these fears and anxieties to the Lord in prayer but also discuss them with your spiritual director (or vocations director) - remeber, you are never alone on the journey.


#3

I am a lay woman without any experience in the area that you mention, but the exact things you say sounds like what many saints and other people who are called to do something special for the Lord experience: doubts, fears, thinking that they have made everything up etc. God bless you! Certainly the devil is not happy with the idea of you sharing your experience in this area. You did a good job to start!!!

Dear Lord, please bless our brother in Christ. If you want him for your very own, as a priest, please continue to send him signs and comfort him as Satan attacks. He is now ready and willing to listen to you. Send others to him that will understand what is happening.Thank you for your love and all of your goodness and mercy. We pray in Jesus name. Amen.


#4

Sounds like spiritual attack, much like I’ve read about happening to those considering going back to confession for the first time in a long while before they actually do it. In my opinion it’s really a shame you didn’t go straight into the seminary. Seminaries are meant for discernment; it’s where one goes to find out if they have a calling or not. One doesn’t just automatically know they’re going to become a priest and go into a seminary and simply become one. I don’t really understand the extra year of waiting. Waiting for what?


#5

Praying to the Holy Spirit to give you guidance, direction, strength, fortitude & wisdom in your time of need. Praying to St. Michael the Archangel to watch over you.


#6

Mike;

I can only recommend one thing that has helped me tremendously with these kinds of feelings you describe so well. “The Soul of the Apostolate”, by Jean Baptiste Chautard.

Maybe you already have it, if not please get a copy right away.

Best wishes, and I will say a prayer tonight before the blessed sacrament for you.


#7

This may not stop the present struggle but it may give it meaning: a priest who has gone through such a struggle will certainly be a better confessor, spiritual director, counsellor than one for whom the way was clear and breezy.

You have had signs to encourage you and then some very human doubts and fears that discouraged you.

Please rule out a real diagnosis of anxiety which can often happen when serotonin levels drop in the body. Good nutrition and supplements can restore you. I am not ruling out the devil; but sometimes our own neglect can play into his dirty hands.

May God protect you on your journey.


#8

As my son would say “cool story bro”. I would love to see how this works itself out. You sound like you would be a great priest. I’ll offer prayers for you!


#9

Thank you guys so much for your replies! It really does help just have other people to voice these things with instead of internalizing it all. I’m meeting with our vocations director soon for dinner.


#10

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