Vocation Update IV

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

I went through a little crisis recently. I didn't want to speak about it any more than I had to, but then I saw Mark of the Vineyard's post, and it had some kind of relevance about choices.

How it all started I can't remember, but I found myself in a horrible situation where I was assailed by all my doubts. I became miserable and morose, not eating/sleeping, etc. In the midst of it, needing release I tried to write about it. All my fears came to attack me: that I wouldn't be able to cope in German, that I wouldn't have enough money, that I would be always lonely, unfaithful, yearning for companionship, that I was a failure, a reject.

Luckily I did share some of what was going on with my friend's and they helped me not make rash decisions. For example, part of me thought, "your vocation is a con" (of course this is the Prince of Lies attacking), and so I found out how to go back to University and get my Law degree. I even worked out how to start it this year, how to finance it, how to qualify to then practice as a solicitor, etc., etc. But as another friend asked, can you really picture me as a lawyer?

The crisis helped me realise that a few of the fears are valid. For example, my German is likely not strong enough to be taught in a class of native speakers, whereas in Rome one learns Italian for seven weeks straight. Again, worrying about money is hardly conducive to one's studies, and there is not that worry with the national Seminary...

But in the end, worn out, finally giving in to God's help, saying "Lord, I can't do this by myself anymore", I came to a still, calm place, where I was really able to contemplate not what I wanted to do, but what God was asking of me. A third, unexpected thought came to me: that maybe I was being called to the Diocesan Priesthood after all. As I explored this, I thought about trials and suffering and how there is a lot of work to be done in Parishes (and I mean that in fairness, not in a snide Trad-is-better way). Parishes - under-resourced, needing catechesis, etc. - are the "sharp end of the stick", and I do not believe I am called to an "easy task".

I don't want to enter into too much discussion on the subject of old vs. new Mass. The fact of the matter is that I am familiar with the extraordinary form of the Mass, and serve at it on Sundays. I normally loathe what the ordinary form has become, but that has more to do with banal music, and irreverent behaviour from Parishioners, and can happen anywhere. Equally, it does not happen everywhere. Things will change, slowly.

So, basically, I've been thinking I maybe shouldn't visit the Seminary in Germany, and instead consider the Applicants' Year for my Archdiocese. That is where the hard toil is, and the Lord is calling labourers for his harvest. I have discussed this with my Spiritual Director and my Confessor, and they both agree with my reasons. Now I need to make contact with the vocations team (easier said than done, sometimes), before the Applicants' Year starts.

Please keep me in your prayers, and I hope this post may be of some use to those who are attacked by doubts. It is hard to discern between unreasonable doubts and reasonable obstacles.

( << previous Update )


steve p,  Wednesday, August 20, 2008 at 6:53:00 AM PDT  

Wow, this is big news and a wonderful first step. Best of luck!

Totus Tuus Wednesday, August 20, 2008 at 6:03:00 PM PDT  

I have recently decided to revisit discernment of the diocesan priesthood, despite my sadness at the state the Novus Ordo and the diocesan priesthood and parish life have fallen into, so you are not alone in this.

Seminarian Matthew Friday, August 22, 2008 at 1:34:00 PM PDT  

Well I am sure that you expect this, but I encourage all male Catholics to consider the orders exclusively bringing the Traditional Latin Mass to the Faithful. We have many Novus Ordo priests but many traditional Catholics are forced to drive hundreds of miles each Sunday to attend a Tridentine Mass.

Mark Friday, August 22, 2008 at 10:17:00 PM PDT  

That's a good point, Matthew, but that's also a reason to consider the Diocesan Priesthood. We need Diocesan Priests who are willing to integrate both forms of the Mass, properly celebrated, into Parish life.

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