What's next?


#1

Okay, I've been discerning for a while now and I've got it currently narrowed down to some Orders. (I'm leaning towards the Dominicans.) I've been thinking about it for a while. I've looked into alot of options. I don't currently have a spiritual director, but I'm going to get one soon. I'm still young.(almost 15)

My questions:

What's the next step for me?

Is there any book that I should read this summer to discern?

Is there any Novena for vocations/discernment that I could do this summer?

Thanks, Godbless


#2

Meaning no disrespect - you're 15: enjoy yourself just being a normal, happy healthy teenager (complete with usual teenage angst).

I know what it's like to be in a hurry to move on to the next step and to what to get on with things rather than "drifting". Just relax and let God's plan for your life unfold in His time.

If you really want to do something, help out in your parish - there's a real shortage of young males in visible roles in most parishes so simply through being present, you would be providing some visible witness to your faith and what it means to you.


#3

I am your age too - and discerning the sacred priesthood but with the FSSP, Institue of Christ the King the Sovreign Priest, and the Canons Regular of St. John Cantius. I don't know of any good books to read for discernment but, I would recommend getting a spiritual director and confessor and, most importantly, striving for personal sanctity.

PM me if you want. God bless!


#4

[quote="Domini_cane, post:1, topic:331360"]
Okay, I've been discerning for a while now and I've got it currently narrowed down to some Orders. (I'm leaning towards the Dominicans.) I've been thinking about it for a while. I've looked into alot of options. I don't currently have a spiritual director, but I'm going to get one soon. I'm still young.(almost 15)

My questions:

What's the next step for me?

[/quote]

Well, to begin with, a spiritual director! That is in fact essential for discernment. It will also help you in order your prayer life and in discussing the matter with your family (sometimes they will oppose a vocation or even discernment out of prejudice that somewhat this will not make you happy or fulfilled).

Also, true discernment will begin after spiritual direction has begun and you reach out to those communities and talk to their vocation directors and perhaps attend a retreat and get to experience their life first-hand.

May God bless you in your journey, and bring to completion what he has begun in you!


#5

[quote="InThePew, post:2, topic:331360"]
you're 15: enjoy yourself just being a normal, happy healthy teenager (complete with usual teenage angst).

[/quote]

This is just what I was mentioning above. Quite a common piece of advice, and usually given with the best intentions. However, taken to its largest interpretation, it is an open invitation to embrace worldly behaviors, to "get to know what you risk to lose" (if you foolishly embrace celibacy), etc.

This is a great age to begin discernment, before the snares of the world, plagued of hedonism and relativism, start holding you in their clutch.

Discernment is quite normal, quite healthy, and though it can be a bit of a struggle it does lead us to true happiness, for it is God's will that we are discerning, not our own.


#6

Actually, it’s advice to be in the world, not of the world.

It’s very easy for someone to want to cut themselves off from the world, with all it’s faults and imperfections - and almost as easy to do just that. But being a normal happy, healthy teenage doesn’t have to mean embracing all the snares of the world, any more than embracing a call to religious life means cutting oneself off from the world. If anything the opposite is true - even cloistered orders don’t want applicants whose are motivated by a desire to escape the world. Imperfect as it is, the world in which we live is the one which we live in and the one which we are all called to minister to.

For any teenager, and particularly for one considering religious life, normal friendships (especially with girls) and ordinary activities with friends are invaluable. That doesn’t mean bedding anything in a skirt of a suitable age any more than it means binge boozing every weekend all in the name of “experience”. What it does mean is (trying) to be just an ordinary person while living with a call to a very extraordinary life and, as part of that, being around people who will treat you as you.


#7

[quote="InThePew, post:6, topic:331360"]
Actually, it's advice to be in the world, not of the world.

It's very easy for someone to want to cut themselves off from the world, with all it's faults and imperfections - and almost as easy to do just that. But being a normal happy, healthy teenage doesn't have to mean embracing all the snares of the world, any more than embracing a call to religious life means cutting oneself off from the world. If anything the opposite is true - even cloistered orders don't want applicants whose are motivated by a desire to escape the world. Imperfect as it is, the world in which we live is the one which we live in and the one which we are all called to minister to.

For any teenager, and particularly for one considering religious life, normal friendships (especially with girls) and ordinary activities with friends are invaluable. That doesn't mean bedding anything in a skirt of a suitable age any more than it means binge boozing every weekend all in the name of "experience". What it does mean is (trying) to be just an ordinary person while living with a call to a very extraordinary life and, as part of that, being around people who will treat you as you.

[/quote]

The humbleness that I perceive from your reply is very edifying. I am very grateful, and I am sure that the OP will also benefit from your words.


#8

Thanks everyone for the answers. I appreciate it.


#9

[quote="Domini_cane, post:1, topic:331360"]
Okay, I've been discerning for a while now and I've got it currently narrowed down to some Orders. (I'm leaning towards the Dominicans.) I've been thinking about it for a while. I've looked into alot of options. I don't currently have a spiritual director, but I'm going to get one soon. I'm still young.(almost 15)

[/quote]

Hold on. Fifteen, you say? I really suggest, for the sake of your vocation, that you live your faith according to your age.

I really urge you to stop narrowing down Orders and "leaning" to some. I'll give you the same advice I give most men discerning a vocation. Explore, but abandon all arrogance or entitlement. A vocation is made through utter and complete obedience; both to God and your superiors. Seminaries and novitiates want well rounded gentlemen, also.

As a Seminarian, I have been instructed to abandon pride and self aggrandizement. It is really crucial to realize this early on.

[quote="Domini_cane, post:1, topic:331360"]
My questions:

What's the next step for me?

[/quote]

Pray and avail yourself to the sacraments like other 15 year old lads.

[quote="Domini_cane, post:1, topic:331360"]
Is there any book that I should read this summer to discern?

[/quote]

Your summer reading books for school.

[quote="Domini_cane, post:1, topic:331360"]
Is there any Novena for vocations/discernment that I could do this summer?

[/quote]

The Rosary. You will only achieve a vocation by taking hold of her mantle and never letting go. Entrust yourself to Our Lady and be not afraid.

[quote="Domini_cane, post:1, topic:331360"]
Thanks, Godbless

[/quote]

You too. Feel free to PM me if you have any questions regarding formation. I'd be glad to help.


#10

I know of someone who started visiting a religious community at your age (she spent her holidays off school there). After high school, she entered and she is now a sister who has given her final vows…

The Bible and little stories about the Saints is probably a good start.

Pax!

Nils


#11

Thanks for the responses.


#12

Domini Cane,

You have a very bright future ahead of you. Follow your heart and protect your heart, (Proverbs 4:23)

Because you are so young I would study the Book of Proverbs. Know them inside out.
There are 31 chapters, one chapter of study for each day of the month, and repeat cycle each month. There are about 900 or so proverbs total, most wrtitten by King Solomon, son of David. Get a book that has them written in easier understood translation if need be.

Remember, when Jesus was around your age, he was found in the temple asking the older men questions and listening, which is exactly what you are doing, so good job.

If you are considering priesthood, try The Priest is Not His Own by Blessed Fulton Sheen. I am in the process of reading that one myself. It is excellent.

ES


#13

[quote="R_C, post:7, topic:331360"]
The humbleness that I perceive from your reply is very edifying. I am very grateful, and I am sure that the OP will also benefit from your words.

[/quote]

Thank you


#14

Domine cane,

I am now about to turn 17 and will be finally beginning the application process to seminary(ies). I first had thoughts about the priesthood at about the same time as you, right after I turned 15. From personal experience, I would like to lend a few tips about the next year and a half or so in this thing called, "discernment."

When I started, I didn't really know what discernment was. I decided that to really kick my vocation into gear I just HAD to pray 24/7 and be the perfect Catholic in all ways. I realize now I put myself under a little too much pressure which only hurt. I became a little too devoted and this caused me to easily get tired and lose faith. Only in the last few months have I understood that discernment is a much more casual and open process than you may want it to be. It would be nice if there were a website a man could find and just go down to checklist to become a priest. Unfortunately, no such website exists--believe me, I tried to find it.

Instead, I would recommend that you simply (remember that simple isn't necessarily easy) do as Jesus commands in the Gospel--increase in virtue and decrease in sin and vice. Life is a long, slow grind toward the end, and expecting to leap up right NOW and become sainted and sinless is unrealistic. Instead, take each day one at a time and contemplate it, asking yourself questions like:

--What sins or bad actions have I committed and why did I commit them?
--Have I grown in virtue and understanding today?
--Have I helped someone weak or in need today (remember that God is visible in the faces of the downtrodden, and try to broaden your definition of downtrodden. The overweight, acne-covered, annoying "loser" in your class could be just as downtrodden as the panhandlers downtown, but the guy in your class is within your reach to help. God presents everyone with opportunities for mercy, we just have to reach out and take them by the hand.)
And so on.

At the same time, allow prayer and the sacraments to grow in importance in your life. Don't be unrealistic--2 hours of prayer and scripture reading a day will just make you more likely to skip it all together the next day. Even just a few minutes of prayer or a few verses of the Gospels can give you enough spiritual nourishment to last a long time. If you have read or watched The Lord of the Rings, remember the lembas bread--just a few mouthfuls could keep a man full for a day. God's nourishment is powerful if we recognize and appreciate it.

On the issue of sins, do not despair! I am still struggling with sexual sins now and I suspect I will continue to for years to come. But don't let that get you down. Loss of hope is the devil's triumph; Steady perseverance are his enemies. Your greatest weapon is the confessional. No matter how many times I go to confession, the sensation of spiritual relief and happiness is always great beyond my expectations. Don't be afraid to ask your parents to take you to mass early so you can go to confession, and don't be nervous about asking your pastor to hear your confession. Your parents may be curious, but they aren't going to pry about what you are confessing, and I can almost guarantee that your pastor would be delighted to have a teenager going to confession regularly. You will not rid yourself of vice until you enter Paradise, but God has given us miniature paradises on Earth in the form of his sacraments and the spiritual life. Use them, and soon the positive power of virtue will overcome the negative power of vice in your life.

Above all, remember that there are people out there struggling with their vocation just like you. Use these forums, talk privately to your pastor or another priest, or a youth director or relative or anyone you trust. It is too early to be meeting with a vocation director at this stage, but there are plenty of people and resources to help you.

God bless you, brother. Remember to pray for everyone discerning their vocation, and don't become bitter, angry, withdrawn, or scared. God is with you through his Spirit, and the world is full of good people. Even if things don't turn out as you expect, God still loves you and will welcome you back every time you fall.

Thanks for reading this rather long post,
Daniel

P.S. There's no "required reading," but C.S. Lewis and Matthew Kelley have some great inspirational books and talks--especially impactful for me was The Screwtape Letters.


#15

I am now about to turn 17 and will be finally beginning the application process to seminary(ies).

how does one apply to multiple seminaries ?


#16

[quote="john78, post:15, topic:331360"]
how does one apply to multiple seminaries ?

[/quote]

Apply may not have been the right word. I am just in discussion with the diocesan people, a religious order, and the Institute of Christ the King. Obviously I will end up applying to just one depending on what I decide, but I am still actively considering multiple paths to the priesthood.


#17

[quote="NovusAugustus, post:16, topic:331360"]
...I will end up applying to just one depending on what I decide...

[/quote]

And what they decide.


#18

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