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theculturewarrior

Prayer Request

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theculturewarrior
I would like to ask for your prayers, but I am reposting my request here, so that I can also ask for your advice.

At times I yearn to be a priest. At other times, I long for marriage. I vacillate between the two, and I am very confused.

I sometimes see my own limitations and challenges I would be confronted with to achieve either, and that makes me even more confused.

Anybody else ever have this problem, and if so, have you resolved it?

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Raphael
Is it possible that you are being called to be a married permanent deacon? In that vocation, there are many attributes that belong to either side. You may counsel people and help greatly at parish functions like a priest, but you would have a family. That would explain any confusion over what you feel.

Know, ultimately, that discernment is a long process and that most people can't decide for a long time what they think they are being called to.

I wanted to be a married permanent deacon until God pushed me further, so I know the feeling.

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Pio Nono
JMJ
4/6 - Tuesday of Holy Week

I think about how cool it would be to be married every......oh....five minutes or so. The desire to marry and have a family should never "die" in a man wanting priesthood (or a woman wanting the religious life). In Heaven, marriage will give way to union with the Christ the Bridegroom ("There is no marrying nor giving in marriage"). Priesthood and religious life are pre-Heavenly "signs", if you will, of what Heaven will be like - total consecration to the Lord.

Also, a friend of mine gave me a great insight into discernment once. I was talking to him about how I thought I might be called to the married vocation, and he said, "I'm not called to 'be married', I'm called to marry a specific person. Here, here's a picture of her in my wallet; I can tell you her name, I can tell you where we're going to live, &c.&c.&c." Take that for what it's worth. :P

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dUSt
On the flip side...

I'm married and think about how cool it would be to be a priest often. Sometimes, I even have feelings of regret for not becoming a priest. I did feel a calling to the priesthood in my younger days, and ignored it. There's probably not a day that goes by that I don't think about what kind of impact I would have had if I listened to that calling.

I guess the old saying about the grass is always greener on the other side has some merit.

Don't get me wrong though--I love my wife and children dearly, and am totally comitted to being the best husband and father that I can be. But the "what if" feeling still lingers--and I think it always will.

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Margarite
I second what dUST said, I also often think that I really wanted to be a nun. There is a deep feeling of longing for a life completely dedicated to a more personal relationship with God. I guess people don't hear much about this side of us lay people. Sometimes I even feel kind of sad.

I also love my kids and husband tremendously and I'm very grateful for having such a wonderful family, but there is always the thought that I could have enter a religious life.

In a sense, it seems to me that it is the vocation that I wanted versus the vocation that God intented for me.

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friarMatt
as a religious, i think I would be a great husband and dad, and i think the vice versa is true...the best husbands and dads would prob also make the best priest and religious...a spirit of generosity is necesary, a spirit of sacrifice and a willingness to love more then ourselves or even just person...everytime I think whether I should be married, God usualy allows me the chance to see the beuty of it, but even more so the beuty of being conscerated and chaste and HIS for ever...Christ promises us that we will see even greater things...please pray that I remain faithful to my call, and I will pray u do the same for yours!

in Christ and Mary,
fr. Matt, ofm conv

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Adeodatus
I guess its the nature of this new board (thanks dUSt!!!!) that it calls for a fair bit of sharing. Part of discerning a vocation in life is listening to the experiences of other people.

[quote]..a spirit of generosity is necesary, a spirit of sacrifice and a willingness to love more then ourselves or even just person.[/quote]

I agree. In any vocation, whether marriage, lay single life, priesthood, religious life, or hermits/anchorites etc., we've got to be generous with the Lord just as He is generous with us. It involves a surrender of the heart to Jesus, to allow Him to lead you, to die to your pride and sense of self-sufficiency. It's only in this way that Jesus can take you to where you ought to be going. And it does hurt, but it's worth it!!!

But I also want to suggest that this process of dying and giving your heart to Jesus lasts a lifetime. It's not completed in one moment, and then everything's hunky-dory and you can just get on with life. Life, the vocation we are called to, involves this "art of dying" and coming to life in Christ.


I do think about "what might have been", and I remember so clearly that moment when I chose the religious life over a lovely woman I was in love with. I felt like I had taken my life and flushed it down the toilet. lol But it's a decision I don't regret. One has to choose in this life. If you don't choose, it doesn't mean you're a free man or woman. It just means you're stuck, and trapped with all these choices which are fast becoming useless. But I have to admit, I always [i]knew[/i] it in my bones that if I'd gotten married, my wife would have been like a mistress to me, like someone else was number one, competing for that same niche in my heart. And when I thought about it, I realised with great annoyance that this someone else was God! So I spent 2 and a half years in the Army, and 6 years at university just to run away from Him. A pretty expensive escape!

I'm not suggesting that having God as No. 1 in your heart means displacing your husband or wife. I think married people can have God as No. 1, and still have each other as the human being they are closest to. But for me, things were a little different, and that realisation was part of what drew me, despite myself, to the religious life and priesthood.............

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qfnol31
Very often I flip-flop between feelings for one or the other. But then I realize that I'm still young and have a few more years before I could do anything anyway (I'm a freshman in college). What I do is just pray, pray, pray (and ask for Mary's intercession as well!).

I have a favorite order who I call up every now and then, so I don't loose touch and drift away from what could be a calling. I also keep my relationships with girls in check so that I don't get into anything that I'll regret. Right now I'm not dating, and I think that leaves me freer to discern and not be so distracted.

Well, it's really late and I'll post some more later.

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Theologian in Training
Ultimately, from the way I see it, God gives you the grace to live a life of celibacy. God has instilled within us the desire for a wife, or husband as the case may be (it is not good that man should be alone), but He gives us the grace because He is calling us to something more, in that sense then, your significant other becomes, as it were, God. However, some men have a very difficult time relating to a masculine God, and though they may love their Father on earth, that falls short of the love they have for God, it is more intimate, but it is not sexual, in the strictest sense of the word. In other words, there is a fulfillment and an intimacy that can only be known through, with, and in God. This is both something profoundly beautiful and mysterious.

Granted, that does not mean that once you consent to God's Will in being a priest, if that is what He wants for you (for He knows what is best for us) that you immediately stop thinking about what it would be like being married and having children, it just means that we have to learn to look at our family on a larger scale, and children as being more spiritual children then those physically your own. See, something that took me a while to understand, and something I still grasp with is that when God calls certain people to a life of chaste celibacy we must start looking to Heaven and seeing our family up there, and, at the same time, we also have to look to earth but on a larger scale, a more universal one. You enter into an eternal coventant (you are a priest forever) and therefore, the rules of love and marriage are a little different. In that sense then, as many who have spoken on this topic say, we become witnesses to the eschatological nature of the Church, the "already but not yet." A celibate therefore lives the way in which we will all live one day.

Granted, this is coming from someone who daily struggles with what it means to be a priest, live a celibate life, and try to make sense out of it all in light of God's Will, which is sometimes incredibly foreign.

Hope that Helps

God Bless

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theculturewarrior
Thanks all,

Your candid answers really help. But I am still confused...so don't stop praying! :)

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theculturewarrior
I thought I would give an update, in case anybody was interested. I emailed a vocation director at an archdiocese that I had heard good things about. I was frank with him, and told him what I would have to deal with if I became a priest. He said that I have two things against me, which would be prohibitive. 1.) I have a history of severe mental illness. I made him aware that my recovery has been thorough and that I live a normal fulfilling life. He said it was probably still out of the question. 2.) I had a troubled childhood, and though I have recovered from this as well, he said this would probably also be prohibitive.

I think if I were persistent, I could get in somewhere. But I am thinking that this is all for good reason. If I am unfit for one diocese, I am unfit for them all. So that answers that question. Now I just have to figure out...WHAT DO I DO WITH MY LIFE!!! So far, being a hobo sounds the most wonderful.

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