What Can I Do?!


#1

Let me just begin by saying I really do feel called to go to seminary. I want the opportunity to discern my vocation there. I have told my parents "I am considering becoming a priest."
So, this weekend, I attended a retreat. And I was blown away (that’s another story). I truly want to go to seminary, I’ll say it again. When it was over, we had a gathering of the “retreaters” and their parents. We were supposed to come up and give a short speech on how the retreat impacted us, and what we will take away from it. I walked up and said, “I want to go to seminary.” The place erupted. Anyways, afterwards there was a strange disconnect with my parents, until the following night.
It is important to note that my parents did not ever say they don’t want me to become a priest. They want me to be successful, regardless of career/life path. But, they voiced some of their opinions that really irritated me and a couple that irritated me but were reasonable regardless. First of all, Dad doesn’t trust my spiritual director. Heck, he only trusts like eight people anyways. My spiritual director is a priest, and he doesn’t trust him because of the ignorant, foolish, and all around infuriating stereotype that surrounds all of our priests. They agreed to meet with him, because I NEED a spiritual director. Next, they said I was too young. I was unprepared for this because my thinking is that God’s call can come to anyone. That irked me too… Next, they said that they didn’t want me to “back myself into a corner” by telling people that I want to go to seminary (WHICH I DO). I don’t see it as backing myself into a corner. I see it as just the opposite. Seminary isn’t a commitment to becoming a priest, it’s a commitment to discerning the priesthood! I said this like five times but they never even considered it. The next thing, that they are right on is that I should have gone about my “announcement” a different way. Yes, I admit that I should have told them that “I want to go to seminary” rather than “I am considering becoming a priest.” They were upset that I told the group of people that I want to go to seminary. And rightly so, because I agree I should’ve gone about it differently. Dad said there are people coming up to him congratulating him on something he wasn’t prepared for. And again, this is my fault, and I should not have blindsided them like I did. I guess I equated “considering becoming a priest” with "wanting to go to seminary."
But what’s done is done, and I just don’t see how I can explain to my parents that God’s call to seminary really did come. Maybe they’ll have to wrap their head around it. I don’t know. But I WANT TO GO TO SEMINARY. I DO! And I just don’t know how I can a) correct the mistake I made…b) get them to trust my spiritual director and be less suspicious of the process in general, and …c) Fully support my decision rather than saying stuff like “leave your options open” and malarkey like that. I don’t know what to do…


#2

First things first - I looked at some of your other posts and you indicate that you are still a minor. Canon Law requires one to be 25 years of age at ordination - at this point you are realistically too young to enter right now. As far as I know, a seminary will not accept you so young. You need to finish high school first. (You may be aware of these things, I apologise if that is the case but I just wanted to be sure). God may still be calling you, I am not questioning that, but you still need to wait before you can start the processes.

You say your parents have agreed to meet with your spiritual director? Has this happened yet?

You cannot change how you told them. All you can do it work with what has been done. I think you need to sit down with them and discuss it properly. In your post it seems you just get annoyed or angry at their concerns - this isn't going to help. You need to address their concerns maturely. Apologise for the way you went about things, admit that you made mistakes. You need to have a discussion about it - listen to their concerns and explain your own feelings about the calling and the seminary.

You also can't force them to support your decision. Remember that this is actually quite a difficult thing for them to deal with - parents hope for marriage and children and careers for their children. They see choosing a religious vocation as a loss of those things. They just want you to be happy. Especially if you told them in a poor way, they might just need time to come to terms with it. If they talk with your spiritual director, that should help them.


#3

Perhaps consider apologising to your parents for the awkward position they feel they’ve been put in. Acknowledge that it was insensitive for you to have made the announcement in the manner you did - however, if you still feel called towards priesthood or religious life, you should stand firm.

Today’s world does not want people to commit to anything - people are not answering calls to priesthood or religious life because they are being told to keep their options open; marriage is suffering because one should be careful about settling down in case someone better comes along; people don’t get too comfortable in their jobs in the hope that something more fulfilling will come along soon… It is even more difficult for young people to commit these days because when they finish school, the world is their oyster - there are so many options out there. However, everyone is called by God to something. For some it will be to get married, for others to become a religious or a priest, and for others it will be to live a generous single life. Commit yourself to discovering the will of God and commit yourself to following it - if God is calling you to be a priest, then the best thing in the world you can do is to be His priest.

If and when you enter the seminary, you will have at least six further years of discernment. You are not signing your life away by going to the seminary. This might be reassuring for your parents - the priesthood is not something that you can enter into lightly or without proper discernment.

You mention that you were told you would be too young - for seminary perhaps (I have no idea what age you are!), but you are not too young to be called to the priesthood. The Church in her wisdom does have age restrictions, but you should be discerning right now - thank God for your vocation, stay close to Him, pray, keep in touch with your spiritual director, and if you are called to priesthood, the Good Lord will make it happen. Be patient with God - and be patient with your parents!

May God bless your discernment. I will pray for you.


#4

I think this sums it up rather nicely.

Respectfully, the negative connotation associated with announcing the intent to become a priest seems to be rather universal, to the point that one willing to be so public about it might be seen as a worrisome venture.


#5

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