On vocational brochures and websites, we almost always see the words “must have good mental and physical health”.
I have searched vigorously for my vocation since my baptism in 2011. Many things draw me, but I am deeply afflicted with same-sex attractions, chronic fatigue, clinical depression, and crushing anxiety. In all these years, so far, no medication has yet helped me to live a happy life. I have a therapist, but see no progress. I ostensibly have a spiritual father, but he has become far too busy to advise me. Although I am a “young” Catholic, and chronologically young (26) as well, I feel that my life is without a purpose.
My dear friends in a local religious community have encouraged me, and we have tried to discern my place with them… but the superior makes it clear that, in his opinion, I am not called to be a Religious or a Priest. Everyone who learns of my isolated life and situation of pain finds me unacceptable for “official” life in the Church. I become very bitter when I see those naieve-but-healthy, “perfect” young men, fresh off football teams, entering seminary and becoming priests.
What happens to the little ones like us? I don’t understand why the religious Orders and the Priesthood must be so “respectable”. Did the Apostles refuse the blind, lame, sick, prostitutes, publicans, eunuchs, and other broken people from living together with them in community, after Baptism? Did “that sort” of people make the Church less respectable? More susceptible to abuse and wounds from within?
What do we spiritual lepers exist for, in the Church? Are we doomed to be celibate, lay, and shunned for all our lives? What do we live for? I almost wish there was an ecclesiastical Jean Vanier to found a religious version of l’Arche for those who desire a consecrated state of life but are terribly wounded and in pain.
Please forgive me for my ranting. I desire prayers, and ask for your thoughts about the vocation of the “little ones” in a world filled with sleek advertisements, pearl-white teeth, and sound minds.