I think this has been going on in the Church for quite some time now, but it constantly causes me a lot of confusion and frustration, even more so now what with me growing up and nearing college graduation. Every time I turn around, the issue of discerning religious life and calls to the priesthood pop up everywhere. We pray at Mass (which is fine) for an increase in vocations to religious life, and I encounter people who prattle on and on about becoming a nun, priest, or whatnot. Even my friends take it lightly and make jokes, making “bets” with each other that if XYZ happens, whats-her-face will become a nun. This past week, I vented on Facebook that a university I had applied to for graduate school had rejected me (which was unwise on my part anyhow) and a friend of mine who is the youth minister at my church, and is married himself, commented, “Seminary school!” I knew he meant it humorously, but I was so frustrated at the time I didn’t want to hear a word of it.
The worst part about all of this is that nobody really seems to understand where I’m coming from on all this. I have no intention of becoming a priest or monk or anything of the sort, which I believe I’ve established on a thread from several years ago here. I’ve always wished to be married and raise a family, but I can’t seem to get my foot in the door with women. I’ve never had anything remotely close to a relationship with a girl my whole life, and it’s taken a huge toll on my self-esteem. Last summer, at my cousin’s wedding, I cried almost the entire time because the priest read a passage from Genesis in which God says “it is not good for man to be alone.” So I wish people could understand how insecure I am with regards to discernment before the topic of single/religious life starts getting thrown around, let alone by someone who is married. I know that God gives us free will and that no person knows us better than we, or even God knows us, but being told constantly to discern makes me feel like I don’t have a choice or say. It also makes me feel guilty that I don’t want to live a single life or be a priest.
I’m not sure that I have a point to all this; I just needed to vent about it. And I also apologize if I seem too bitter because I don’t intend to speak against the Church or talk badly about the priesthood or religious life in general. It’s just something I’m struggling with and I’m not sure if I’m headed the right direction or if I’m misinterpreting it all.