What if I am refused?


#1

Greetings and Blessings to All,

I have felt a strong call from God to become His priest. I have no doubt of this call, of His will for me and for my life. I am currently pursuing it with all my heart and soul. I have been meeting with my vocation director and my own parish priest, and have been enriching my prayer life and involvement in my parish.

My only anxiety is that I will for some reason be refused into the Church, refused into seminary. I have some hurdles and barriers to overcome and am working diligently on overcoming them. I am pursuing this call with all of my being and spirit, knowing beyond a doubt that it is God's will for me.

What if it doesn't work out? Would God call me with such strength and urgency only to deny me? I know that my heart would be broken if my Church found me unworthy. I want desperately to follow this call and fulfill God's will in service and love to His Church and His people.

This is the only doubt and worry that keeps me awake at night. What do men do when the Church refuses them to the priesthood? Perhaps I'm worrying for no reason, perhaps I'm plagued by worries from forces that cause me unease in order to cause me to waiver. I know that I would be an energetic force of good for the world in the priestly capacity. I know that I would be extremely happy and joyful in that role.

I simply worry that my Church will find me unworthy.

I would like to know how men deal with refusal, with blocks to their path.

I would appreciate any wisdom, guidance, prayers, and encouragement.

Thank You,
And God Bless You All


#2

God bless you for the vocation you feel that you have. If it is truly a vocation, I pray that you will forge ahead in following it. We certainly need more people to do so if the church has any hope of having sufficient shepherds to tend Jesus’ flock on earth as we go forward in time. If you read the Lives of the Saints, you will have to notice that many of them didn’t just present themselves at a convent or seminary and be welcomed to come aboard from the get-go. One example is Saint Faustina and another is Saint Theresa, both of whom ran into objections from family and even the congregations they wanted to enter themselves. Both of them finally–and after many set backs— “made the grade”, were accepted into the religious life, and even became great saints! I always think of becoming a priest or nun in the same context as getting married. I think it’s the closest of comparisons as both nuns and priests are actually married to God and the church. If you fell in love with a woman and very much wanted to marry her, you might find that you had to really put out effort to convince her to be your wife. Possibly, either your family or her’s might object to the idea also–so you might have to convince them of your intentions as well. Becoming a priest is a very serious choice and one which should be made only after years of careful thought and lots of prayer. Just as a person entering the covenant of marriage needs to be certain of their intentions, a person who feels they have a vocation needs to be absolutely SURE (and with NO doubts) that they are willing to accept a life of sacrifice, living by the rules of the congregation they join and must understand the ramifications of a life spent in service to God and people. Religious are truly “servants of the servants of God”. If you have any doubts, you should stop. Seminaries realize the life that future priests and nuns undertake. Therefore, they AREN’T going to try to woo you aboard if there’s even a fragment of doubt that you have been called by God to do so. To become a priest but to be unable to follow your vows for the rest of your life is probably worse than to not become a priest at all. It’s like getting married and having 1 or more mistresses on the side. I would choose a priest in your parish or whom you know and feel very comfortable with, go to confession to him and during confession tell him that you feel that you’ve been called to a vocation, but that you have concerns. Then tell him your concerns just as you did quite eloquently in this post. Ask the priest if he would be willing to be your confessor. If he agrees to become your confessor, then basically he has taken you under his wing. You will go to confession only with him however often he tells you to come as well as whenever you have a special need or commit a sin you need healing from. The priest-confessor will become your mentor and he’ll get to know you. Let him advise you and assist you in making a final decision. On a strictly practical note, who is better than a priest to assist you in choosing a congregation or seminary to join-- one that will be a"fit" for you–and maybe even speak of you in recommendation to the group you choose? To answer your question, the Church absolutely will NOT find you unworthy-- but they might feel that your vocation is uncertain or that you are unaware of what you are taking on. I don’t know your age, but my own dad who was born in 1901 and died over 30 years ago, believed that he had a vocation when he was young. In his time, almost everyone had large families, and Catholic parents tried hard to give at least 1 child “back to God” by encouraging the child to become a priest or nun. When my dad expressed an interest, his parents all but hog-tied him and dropped him on the seminary doorstep. After several years, my dad began to question the sincerity of his call as did his supervisors in the seminary. His parents were terribly disappointed, but with the blessing of the seminary leadership, he left. If he had not, neither my sister or myself would be here today. Dad got married to my mom obviously, and I’m a product of that union which turned out to be my dad’s true vocation. I still have the crucifix that he wore on a belt around his waist though from the time he spent in the seminary! Good luck, hang in there and God bless!:thumbsup:


#3

I'm really sorry to say this, Starrsmother, but I had to give up reading your post as it was such a large block of text.

Could you break up your future posts into small groups of sentences, do you think?


#4

I recommend that you read The Seven Storey Mountain, an autobiography by Thomas Merton. As you are reading the book reflect on his concerns, experiences and conclusions. Merton was a Trappist Monk and struggled with many of the same issues that you voiced in your post. He did eventually adopt the religions life and lived it well.

Go here to see a book review and comments by people that read the book.

barnesandnoble.com/w/seven-storey-mountain-thomas-merton/1100820303?ean=9780156010863


#5

Kittycoin,

Congratulations on trying to discern God's will for your life!

Here's one very important thing to remember, though: a man doesn't discern alone that he's called to the priesthood -- the man and the Church, together, discern this vocation. It's kind of like marriage: imagine if you saw a girl and ran up to her and said, "I've discerned that I'm called to marry you! C'mon, let's go!" ... you'd be lucky if she only looked at you like you were loony, and didn't up and smack you a good one!

Similarly with the priesthood... it's something that you discern and pray about, privately, but the answer as to whether you're called comes from that dialogue between God, you, and the Church.

What happens if the Church says, 'no'? It's a difficult thing to think about, especially if you're deeply invested in the idea of becoming a priest; but, honestly, if the Church says 'no', it means that you're not called to that particular ministry. It would mean that you should continue to discern God's will for your life. That act of 'giving up control' of your life, and trusting in God and His Church, is difficult, but is a critical part of any vocation, especially a vocation in which you place your life in service to the Church!

I'll keep you in prayer!

Blessings,

G.


#6

[quote="paperwight66, post:3, topic:337984"]
I'm really sorry to say this, Starrsmother, but I had to give up reading your post as it was such a large block of text.

Could you break up your future posts into small groups of sentences, do you think?

[/quote]

Me. too. Paragraghs and spaces will go a long way.


#7

Perhaps I'm worrying for no reason, perhaps I'm plagued by worries from forces that cause me unease in order to cause me to waiver.

I would suspect this.

Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.... St Matthew 6:34


#8

[quote="paperwight66, post:3, topic:337984"]
I'm really sorry to say this, Starrsmother, but I had to give up reading your post as it was such a large block of text.

Could you break up your future posts into small groups of sentences, do you think?

[/quote]

As long as the thread originator could read it, that's enough for me. That's who I was speaking to. ;) My goodness--if you couldn't wade through my post, can you wade through an actual book? LOL!


#9

I could read your response to my post just fine, Starrsmother. Thank you for your considered and considerate response.

I spoke to my priest this morning at Mass about my concerns, and he suggested just what you did: learn about the saints. Specifically, he suggested St. Therese of Lisieux.

Thanks again for your encouragement and sharing your story. Your response was very helpful.

God Bless You


#10

Good luck to you, Dear. I'll pray for you. The fact that you've even been allowed to think seriously about having a vocation shows your generosity of spirit and the immense love God has for you! I didn't mean to offend the person who told me to cut it short--I apologize for the book "crack" and wished I'd phrased it differently in retrospect as I didn't mean to sound unkind. Sometimes it's hard to say something in 25 words or less, though... Again, sorry to anyone the length of my original post was.:thumbsup:


#11

Refusal hurts; plain and simple - it's seriously not fun! at the same time though, it can also be a learning experience and opportunity for growth even though the reason may seem a mystery at the time. Granted, it may not happen and you shouldn't be worrying yourself sick about it. We all have hurdles and barriers to overcome and none of us are worthy to follow the path that God call us to - but he calls us nonetheless. Still, doubts are only natural - if anything it's more concerning if a person doesn't have doubts or worse still, considers themselves worth of God's call) - doubts are what enable you to reaffirm your vocational call by making you re-confirm for yourself that this is indeed what you fell you are called to.

Finally, I'm happy to share my experience with you via PM if it'd be of any help.


#12

[quote="Starrsmother, post:10, topic:337984"]
Good luck to you, Dear. I'll pray for you. The fact that you've even been allowed to think seriously about having a vocation shows your generosity of spirit and the immense love God has for you! I didn't mean to offend the person who told me to cut it short--I apologize for the book "crack" and wished I'd phrased it differently in retrospect as I didn't mean to sound unkind. Sometimes it's hard to say something in 25 words or less, though... Again, sorry to anyone the length of my original post was.:thumbsup:

[/quote]

Some of us with less than perfect eyesight or iPods have trouble with large blocks of text because one gets lost in the lines. I always try to just keep my paragraphs short for this reason.

It's not the length of the post as a whole. I've copied and pasted posts and put in paragaphs so I could read them. Real books pose no problem as they are a different medium :)


#13

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.