What if you ignore the call


#1

Say you feel the call to the priesthood, but you ignore it because you want to have a wife and children. Would that be considered a mortal sin?


#2

I think that would be disobedience to God… I dont know if it would send a person to hell, but it might add much time to Purgatory. Also, …I don’t know, but if I was called to the priesthood and said no, I’d really regret this if I ever met God face to face. (which we will). We are called to give everything to God and to love Him first, and to be willing to give up our lives for Him…

if a person thinks that he’s being called to the priesthood but really wants a wife and children, - I think then it’s important to get a spiritual director to fully discern the calling. It’s better to figure this out now than wait till you’re a priest, cause then it might be confusing and a distraction… it’s important for a priest to be certain of his vocation and to be very strong in faith.

that’s just my opinion…

God bless :slight_smile:


#3

[quote="HectorEli, post:1, topic:203168"]
Say you feel the call to the priesthood, but you ignore it because you want to have a wife and children. Would that be considered a mortal sin?

[/quote]

If you wanted a wife and children it is far more likely that you did not have a religious vocation after all.


#4

If it's that difficult for you to answer the call because you want a wife and child, maybe you're not receiving a call? I would pray on it more and consider it more, and realize that it may be better to be a better husband and father, than a mediocre priest because of a decision made in haste. Or, it may be better for you to be a priest instead of a father who always wonders what might have been :) What about married priesthood? Have you checked into that? I don't know much about it myself, but I do know that there are married priests. It may be worth looking into.


#5

[quote="puzzleannie, post:3, topic:203168"]
If you wanted a wife and children it is far more likely that you did not have a religious vocation after all.

[/quote]

I'm not sure about this, I mean.. it could be true, but isn't it also true that we all have a natural desire for marriage? and the calling to religious life is supernatural... but if the desire for marriage is very strong, that might be an indication that this is the person's vocation.


#6

A vocation is actually an invitation to come and follow...not a command...certainly better for you to properly discern and to be open to God's Will...but it is not a mortal sin unless you are actually breaking a commandment.


#7

[quote="Monica4316, post:5, topic:203168"]
I'm not sure about this, I mean.. it could be true, but isn't it also true that we all have a natural desire for marriage? and the calling to religious life is supernatural... but if the desire for marriage is very strong, that might be an indication that this is the person's vocation.

[/quote]

I hope not Monica. I don't have a natural desire for marriage as defined by the Church. There are many different callings in life: married, clergy, single, etc, just like the jobs we choose. All these things are part of us and are unique to each individual.


#8

God gives us the graces that we need to live out the vocation that He wants of us. So you will be the happiest living in that vocation. For instance if you were being called to the priesthood, but ignored it and married instead, God isn't going to send you to hell for it, but you probably won't feel as fufilled or spiritually at peace. Maybe you will always feel like something is missing...

Likewise if you were being called to married life and you became a priest instead, you may struggle badly with the celibacy that the priesthood requires for example. Not because you're weak or anything like that, but because God gave you special graces to live out a different vocation.

Hopefully this makes some sense. It sounds good in my head, so I hope it translates well. :)


#9

HectorEli,

What about becoming a Deacon? That way you can do both of the things you desire.

Just a thought :shrug:


#10

[quote="puzzleannie, post:3, topic:203168"]
If you wanted a wife and children it is far more likely that you did not have a religious vocation after all.

[/quote]

I disagree. Before realizing my calling to the priesthood(and probably religious life) several months ago, I was obsessed with marrying and having children. I still frequently think about marriage but acknowledge that it is not for me. I basically know my place in this world. Once I am ordained, I am not going to seek laicization after a few years or so. I also believe that prayer can help me to control my romantic desires. If God wants something for you, He will make a path that is possible to follow.


#11

[quote="puzzleannie, post:3, topic:203168"]
If you wanted a wife and children it is far more likely that you did not have a religious vocation after all.

[/quote]

This is not correct. One of my best friends told this story:

While he was in seminary, the Archbishop of Jamaica came to visit and speak. During his talk, he told the seminarians that if they left the seminary, they could go get married and have children, and God would not be mad. He told them that they were still discerning the priesthood, and it was not sinful to not be called there.

This friend of mine ended up getting really excited, and packing his bags. He had always wanted to be a father and husband.

Then, something caught him. He went and prayed, and took some patient time out. It was in this time that he realized he was pursuing his true vocation in the priesthood. He has now been a priest for three years, and is a very holy and humble man. It is very obvious to anyone who knows him that he is at peace and in the right vocation.

In fact, I have heard from several places that sometimes the best priests are the ones that would have been the best husbands and fathers. This is because the priest is a major pillar in a spiritual family. An aversion to family life is actually considered a turn-off. The priesthood wants men that can relate to other normal men. A complete disinclination to family life would not show a normal response, in general. Let me say, however, that there may be exceptions, or there may have been those that just were not attracted to the role of a husband/father because they knew their vocation early.

In general, though, find where God grants you peace. As Father Tim Gallagher told me, "Be active, but unhurried." Make sure to look around and go on retreats, but don't stress too much. If God keeps bringing you back to the same vocation in your heart, it may be a sign that He is knocking.

I still feel confused, often, because I feel alternating pulls between secular priesthood, religious life, and married life. I have had to accept that it will take time, and I should seek God's peace within.

I recommend going to this page, and scrolling down to the seven practical tips for discernment.

Remember to grow closer to God by deepening your prayer life, and find a good spiritual director, if you can!

God Bless, and I will pray for you.

Auspice Maria,

VNV


#12

Part of the problem with the question is that a feeling of having a call is not the Call.,

The Call comes from the Church when it calls a religious to vows or a man to ordination.

The feeling of being called is part of the discernment process but so is the feeling that one wants to be married and have children.

There is no disobedience to God or sin involved in discerning where one is called to be.

When a person gets married then that is confirmation that their Call was to marriage and they should live it out as such.

The point I want to leave everyone with, which I stated at the beginning.

The feeling of a call to religious life or ordination is not the Call, the Call comes only through the Church.


#13

[quote="ByzCath, post:12, topic:203168"]
Part of the problem with the question is that a feeling of having a call is not the Call.,

The Call comes from the Church when it calls a religious to vows or a man to ordination.

The feeling of being called is part of the discernment process but so is the feeling that one wants to be married and have children.

There is no disobedience to God or sin involved in discerning where one is called to be.

When a person gets married then that is confirmation that their Call was to marriage and they should live it out as such.

The point I want to leave everyone with, which I stated at the beginning.

The feeling of a call to religious life or ordination is not the Call, the Call comes only through the Church.

[/quote]

Thank you for clarifying that, Brother. I guess that that is the main reason why I often use phrases like "feeling called" when referring to myself. In the secular world, I think that all of us who are discerning would just be considered to be psychotic(especially if having with a statement of belief like "I am called by God to be Pope one day").


#14

Thank you, everybody, for your prayers. Excuse me for not replying in a more timely manner, I only have interenet access from monday-thursday. Deedledum, I have thought about becoming a deacon. That would actually fit quite well into "my" plans. I have heard that you need to be at least 30 years of age to be a deacon; I am 23, so that is great for me because i will be applying to Med school/Grad school next spring.
VeroNihilVerius, thank you for the link, it has very useful tips. I like tip 4, "If God wants you to be married, then He will send the right person in due time, and you can be sure that it was His will, and not your own" ....if God doen't send the right person by the time I am in my late thirties, then it is probably a good sign that marriage is not for me. Rence, as far as I know, the only married Roman Catholic priests are converts from Anglican church. Thank you, everyone, for your replies.

God Bless.


#15

[quote="HectorEli, post:1, topic:203168"]
Say you feel the call to the priesthood, but you ignore it because you want to have a wife and children. Would that be considered a mortal sin?

[/quote]

Let me offer another understanding of the "call". I am in formation for the diaconate, so, this is something I continue to discern...

Permit me to use an analogy...

God is a head football coach, you are the offensive coordinator. He gives you a book with a whole lot of plays. You have the "freedom" (free will) to use any play in the book. Of course there are plays that exist that are not in God's book. To use those would be sinful. And, there are plays that may be in the book but are not appropriate in a particular situation. For example, one would not go into punt formation on first and goal from the 3 yard line. But there are several running and/or passing plays that may be very useful in this situation.

Think of marriage. Someone chooses to get married. Does God handpick our spouse? Were we destined to marry that one man or woman that God reserved for us? I don't think so...I think God created us with an intellect and a free will and we choose our own spouse. If we are open and cooperative, God will work through those two souls to make them holy.

God may well have Holy Orders written in your playbook. But He may have a marriage play or two, as well...So, how do will you know if the play you picked is in God's playbook?

When your will and God's will are operating at the same frequency and amplitude, you will know a peace and joy in your heart. Turn this decision over to God in prayer. Ask Him to speak to your heart. When you feel that holy calmness, you will know that you are where God wants you to be.

I am not a theologian and don't claim to be. So, please take my suggestions with the grain. All I am trying to do is get you to see that our loving God works through the hard decisions we encounter throughout our lives and helps us to become the person He created us to be. Sometimes, there is no "wrong" decision or at least there is more than one that is written in your playbook...


#16

cargau,

I don't think that it's a sin to ignore one's call to a religious or priestly vocation.

It is foolish and pointless, but not sinful. It's a free gift. And the evangelical counsels are a free gift as well. But no one sins in failing to take up the evangelical counsels. I imagine its the same thing with the dignity of the ordained life.

All of that granted, one's vocation is the path which will best sanctify that person. And that grace, in some cases, may be what that person needs not only to be a saint, but also to simply be saved. But it wouldn't be the rejection itself which would be a sin. Not at all.

-Rob


#17

[quote="RobNY, post:16, topic:203168"]
cargau,

I don't think that it's a sin to ignore one's call to a religious or priestly vocation.

It is foolish and pointless, but not sinful. It's a free gift. And the evangelical counsels are a free gift as well. But no one sins in failing to take up the evangelical counsels. I imagine its the same thing with the dignity of the ordained life.

All of that granted, one's vocation is the path which will best sanctify that person. And that grace, in some cases, may be what that person needs not only to be a saint, but also to simply be saved. But it wouldn't be the rejection itself which would be a sin. Not at all.

-Rob

[/quote]

I didn't mean to suggest that ignoring a call was sinful. Although a stubborn unwillingness to be open to God may be sinful. I am not sure...

I think God calls us by the gifts that we have (talents), the people we know and the whisper of the heart. I do believe that God may offer us a multiple choice and any of the answers may be perfectly fine with God. Any of the options offered may provide a deepening in holiness and a joy filled life.

Then again, I may be all wet! I am not God and God can do whatever He pleases including calling someone specifically to the priesthood (or marriage or the single life) and nothing else...


#18

[quote="cargau, post:17, topic:203168"]
I didn't mean to suggest that ignoring a call was sinful. Although a stubborn unwillingness to be open to God may be sinful. I am not sure...

I think God calls us by the gifts that we have (talents), the people we know and the whisper of the heart. I do believe that God may offer us a multiple choice and any of the answers may be perfectly fine with God. Any of the options offered may provide a deepening in holiness and a joy filled life.

Then again, I may be all wet! I am not God and God can do whatever He pleases including calling someone specifically to the priesthood (or marriage or the single life) and nothing else...

[/quote]

I do think that there may be a few different ways we could go in our life without it being sinful, but if we know that we are called by God in a certain direction, why would we go anywhere else?

We should especially recall that our personal ideas of our own happiness and welfare are fickle and often wrong, and that if God is indeed calling us somewhere, He will provide us with the graces we need for our station.

Just imagine if Mary had ignored her calling...


#19

[quote="cargau, post:17, topic:203168"]
I didn't mean to suggest that ignoring a call was sinful. Although a stubborn unwillingness to be open to God may be sinful. I am not sure...

[/quote]

I meant to agree with you, but didn't make myself clear.


#20

[quote="puzzleannie, post:3, topic:203168"]
If you wanted a wife and children it is far more likely that you did not have a religious vocation after all.

[/quote]

Thats not necessarily true...most young healthy catholic men have a natural desire to get married but the Lord might call them to something higher, hence they would sacrifice the great good of getting married for a greater good (priesthood)

In Christ,
Zachary


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