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.