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chrysostom

discerning priesthood

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chrysostom

Resources/books/advice?

I'm referring not so much to diocesan priesthood as to priesthood in general. 

So far I know of Christ the Ideal of the Priest by Bl. Columba Marmion, and of course the Catechism....any others?

I'm just in the curious phase at this point.  I still want to give RL a go, but I realized I would not be opposed to discerning priesthood from within a religious community...in fact, I would welcome the chance.  Of course at that point it would not be up to me, and so it's not something I'm going to fret over.  But still.  It has its own special kind of attraction.  Meditations on priesthood?  Experiences of discerning its particular call?  Good books? Advice for potential phorum lurkers?

chrys

P.S. I know there's no good substitute to talking it over with real people, experienced priests, etc.  So that is duly noted in advance. ;)

Edited by chrysostom

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bardegaulois

It's unlikely that I can add very much to what you likely already know. However, regardless of whether you go the secular or regular route, the vocations director in your diocese is certain to be a very good resource for simply talking about the priesthood in itself. Everyone recommends spiritual direction, and I don't differ from them at all, but sometimes a good spiritual director can be hard to find, and so when you meet him, you want to be ready. I've found it helps to spend some time in meditation in order better to clarify your motive and intention in this. Some research into Ignatian spirituality may be helpful for this: http://www.ignatianspirituality.com/making-good-decisions/discernment-of-spirits/how-do-i-know-im-experiencing-god.

I'd ask the diocesan VD, moreover, if he could recommend a spiritual director if you don't have one.

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chrysostom

Thanks for the link and for the recommendation about the diocesan VD.  I'm not very knowledgable about Ignatian spirituality...I have heard that even for those who don't gravitate towards it as a daily way of life, it can be immensely helpful in those turning points of life or when one simply wants to take stock of oneself.

Thankfully I do have a good SD, although we've only met three times so far.  I mentioned it to him briefly the other day, and certainly there will be opportunity to talk it over some more at an appropriate time.

I mentioned priesthood in itself because I know a lot of materials on the priesthood will express the function of priesthood as it relates to parish life...not that that is a bad thing.  But a choir monk may live out his priesthood in a way that looks very different.

Ultimately within the community itself would be the best resource and the best way to discern how the priesthood is expressed within that particular mode of life. :)

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bardegaulois
1 minute ago, chrysostom said:

Thanks for the link and for the recommendation about the diocesan VD.  I'm not very knowledgable about Ignatian spirituality...I have heard that even for those who don't gravitate towards it as a daily way of life, it can be immensely helpful in those turning points of life or when one simply wants to take stock of oneself.

Thankfully I do have a good SD, although we've only met three times so far.  I mentioned it to him briefly the other day, and certainly there will be opportunity to talk it over some more at an appropriate time.

I mentioned priesthood in itself because I know a lot of materials on the priesthood will express the function of priesthood as it relates to parish life...not that that is a bad thing.  But a choir monk may live out his priesthood in a way that looks very different.

Ultimately within the community itself would be the best resource and the best way to discern how the priesthood is expressed within that particular mode of life. :)

So do you have a community in mind? If so, it wouldn't hurt to drop them a line, visit, and get a feel for their culture. In many communities, ordination of a brother is generally presume unless you specify otherwise. In others, only certain brothers are selected for priestly studies. Get a feel for what the general ordained/non-ordained brother ratio is. If in doubt, always focus more on the religious life aspect than the priestly aspect. If you want to go in that direction, that ought to be your focus. It never hurts, though, to focus on the priesthood in general for the time being.

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chrysostom
23 minutes ago, bardegaulois said:

So do you have a community in mind? If so, it wouldn't hurt to drop them a line, visit, and get a feel for their culture. In many communities, ordination of a brother is generally presume unless you specify otherwise. In others, only certain brothers are selected for priestly studies. Get a feel for what the general ordained/non-ordained brother ratio is. If in doubt, always focus more on the religious life aspect than the priestly aspect. If you want to go in that direction, that ought to be your focus. It never hurts, though, to focus on the priesthood in general for the time being.

I do have a community in mind.  The thing is, I need to graduate first...and in addition, a visit would be a bit of an undertaking seeing as they are not exactly local.  My current situation doesn't really allow either a casual visit or an extended stay for both financial reasons and current obligations that keep me where I am on a weekly basis.  My current vague plan is to write them at some point...I guess it could be sooner than later, and see if I could set up an extended stay after graduation at which time I would be free.  If things keep progressing, I could then formally request to be a postulant/aspirant/however it's called.  If things don't progress/I discern out of RL, I could then go on to keep looking/grad school depending on the results of discernment.  I'd like to have options, if only to make my discernment more peaceful and without the sense that I've "burned my bridges" which might make me choose RL for the wrong reasons.

But yes, that is a good idea to ask about how many are ordained.  I know that some are not.

BTW if anyone wants to ask me more specific questions they can PM me...I'm not about to name where I'm looking in a public forum but I am happy to celebrate/bump fists/gush about how amazing X community is over PM. :P

Edited by chrysostom

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Amppax

I know you said you're not looking for diocesan priesthood, but To Save a Thousand Souls by Fr. Brannen is good, from what I've read. 

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bardegaulois
21 minutes ago, chrysostom said:

I do have a community in mind.  The thing is, I need to graduate first...and in addition, a visit would be a bit of an undertaking seeing as they are not exactly local.  My current situation doesn't really allow either a casual visit or an extended stay for both financial reasons and current obligations that keep me where I am on a weekly basis.  My current vague plan is to write them at some point...I guess it could be sooner than later, and see if I could set up an extended stay after graduation at which time I would be free.  If things keep progressing, I could then formally request to be a postulant/aspirant/however it's called.  If things don't progress/I discern out of RL, I could then go on to keep looking/grad school depending on the results of discernment.  I'd like to have options, if only to make my discernment more peaceful and without the sense that I've "burned my bridges" which might make me choose RL for the wrong reasons.

But yes, that is a good idea to ask about how many are ordained.  I know that some are not.

BTW if anyone wants to ask me more specific questions they can PM me...I'm not about to name where I'm looking in a public forum but I am happy to celebrate/bump fists/gush about how amazing X community is over PM. :P

Sounds like a good plan. Will you be graduating this upcoming spring? If so, I'd have a definite time in mind to begin that correspondence, and I'd recommend shortly after the New Year: things become semi-normal for a time religiously, and you'll have a break from studies. Tasks we put aside to be done "at some point" often end up undone.

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chrysostom
25 minutes ago, bardegaulois said:

Sounds like a good plan. Will you be graduating this upcoming spring? If so, I'd have a definite time in mind to begin that correspondence, and I'd recommend shortly after the New Year: things become semi-normal for a time religiously, and you'll have a break from studies. Tasks we put aside to be done "at some point" often end up undone.

Actually, it'll be the following spring.  I'm thinking of starting up correspondence after Pentecost this coming year.

Edited by chrysostom

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Luigi
1 hour ago, chrysostom said:

Actually, it'll be the following spring.  I'm thinking of starting up correspondence after Pentecost this coming year.

What's the benefit in waiting until Pentecost? If that's when your schedule is lighter or something, then it's a good plan. But personally, I'd say the sooner the better. The order/congregation/monastery probably has a vocations contact, and his job is to correspond - I wouldn't hold off on his account, thinking that he'll be too busy during the holiday season or something. 

Some orders (Dominicans, Jesuits, Franciscans, probably Holy Cross) assume that candidates will go on to priestly ordination. In some orders (Marianists), the leaders call members to the priesthood. But if you check out websites, you might see a falsely high number of brothers - the guys in the seminary are listed as brothers even though they're on the road to ordination. so they might be fully-vowed members of the order but are still listed as brothers. The really good (mostly Benedictine) websites have pictures of the members with captions that indicate whether they're in formation, vowed, studying for priesthood, or whatever. 

Edited by Luigi

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chrysostom

Hmmm.  Maybe I will!  I am a bit swamped with everything at the moment...but that's no good reason to hold off.  I can manage a letter.

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Luigi
8 minutes ago, chrysostom said:

Hmmm.  Maybe I will!  I am a bit swamped with everything at the moment...but that's no good reason to hold off.  I can manage a letter.

Dude, if the Spirit is moving... pick up the pen!

Other trite but perhaps useful adages: God helps those who help themselves. Curiosity killed the cat, but satisfaction brought him back. Dream great dreams, then put on overalls. No time like the present. Never put off to Pentecost what you can do today.

 

Book: Tuning in to God's Call. Andrew Carl Wisdom, OP. http://opcentral.org/join-us/

There's another one I can't think of at the moment. I'll post it later if I remember the title. 

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chrysostom

Well I got started on the letter.  It's late so I got tired halfway through, plus it takes time for me to get stuff on to paper, but at least there's a start.

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Luigi
27 minutes ago, chrysostom said:

Well I got started on the letter.  It's late so I got tired halfway through, plus it takes time for me to get stuff on to paper, but at least there's a start.

I meant to say, but didn't include, in my first post: I don't think you always or necessarily have to know, on your date of entry, whether you plan to pursue the priesthood or not. I (sort of) know a Benedictine who entered intending to be a brother-monk, and he did serve as a brother-monk for ten or fifteen years. Then he started studying for the priesthood. I don't know him well, so I don't have a detailed chronology of how it all came to pass, but I'm pretty sure he approached the abbot and asked to study for the priesthood - there are a lot of priests in this particular monastery, so I doubt the abbot was pressuring this brother to become a priest so they'd have enough guys to say Mass. I'd guess other orders are also open to the prompting of the Spirit in their members as well. Religious superiors would discuss/counsel/guide a change of status like that as part of ongoing formation. 

So as you discern, keep in mind that you probably don't have to come to a definite decision about priesthood before you come to a definite decision about  religious life. 

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PhuturePriest

One book that has been repeatedly recommended to me is The Diary of a Country Priest. Also, you obviously can't go wrong with The Cure D'Ars, patron of parish priests.

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Credo in Deum

Another book I would recommend is: "The Priest: The Man of God" by St. Joseph Cafasso who was St. John Basco's spiritual director. ;)

 

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TheresaThoma
On 12/12/2015, 7:11:59, chrysostom said:

I finally talked to my parish priest about this community, and funnily enough he actually knows them really really well.  He urged me to visit this summer and don't delay, and said that he would send the superior a line to let him know I'm writing.  Ugh, now I have no excuses... :P

Writing the first letter is hard but it definitely gets easier after that!.

I also second the idea of checking out the Ignatian Spirituality. It is very practical and helpful, it focuses a good bit on discernments of spirits and being aware of how the Holy Spirit is working and moving in your life.

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chrysostom

Update: I'm all set to visit them for the first time at the beginning of next year. Utterly excited.

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