Author Topic: Signs of a vocation and counter- indicators  (Read 837 times)

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Offline Canuk the Lionheart

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Signs of a vocation and counter- indicators
« on: August 05, 2011, 08:54:08 PM »
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  • Hi, I've been discerning the priesthood for sometime now and need some advice. I’ve read the information relating to vocations on St. Thomas Aquinas Seminary (SSPX) but still have a vague understanding of the required the dispositions, indicators and counter- indicators of a priestly vocation. As some here know I’m currently struggling with certain perversions (bisexuality, something which I in no way find any joy in!), and for this reason feel I would not be able to fill the paternal role of a priest very well. Still despite this, I feel a calling for the priesthood at times, and at other times I fear a vocation (preferring to either become a civilian lawyer and eventually conservative politician, or an army officer) and need to be able to discern an answer to this question; one that will satisfy both God and give rest to my troubled conscience.

    Offline Hobbledehoy

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    Signs of a vocation and counter- indicators
    « Reply #1 on: August 06, 2011, 12:43:15 AM »
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  • I would seek the counsel of a learned and holy Priest, whom I suggest you choose as your spiritual director. Such a cleric alone would have the graces of state in order to accurately gauge your particular predicament. Layfolk ordinarily lack the competence and science wherewith to guide you properly. All they can do is offer their opinions, impressions, hypotheses, etc., in a spirit of fraternal charity.

    The following does not necessarily apply to you, but are general remarks:

    In my experience, those interior souls who have acquired sinful habits against the 6th and 9th Commandments and earnestly strive to conquer the same, but for some reason have not efficaciously and effectively overcome these habits, ordinarily are not called to the Sacred Priesthood.

    The culpability concurrent with the acquisition of the above-mentioned sinful habits must be gauged according to the individual circumstances wherein the person contracted them: for example, someone who had been sexually abused as a child or had been exposed to indecent or pornographic material, or had been neuro-chemically predisposed to precocious sexual activity that substantially contributed to the psycho-sexual complexes that are very commonplace in the present day, may not be as culpable as those who willfully exposed themselves to proximate occasions of impurity as older adolescents and thereby lost their baptismal innocence. Nevertheless, even if there is little culpability to be imputed to the individual insofar as the manner in which the said habits were contracted is concerned, he as a person endowed with free will and a Christian that has access to the supernatural graces of prayer, the Sacraments, etc., will be culpable if he retards his progress in the interior life by cultivating these vices in the same way that other souls retard their progress in their own peculiar ways: to wit, the neglect of prayer, shrinking from exterior and interior mortification, refusing to offer to God the sacrifices He condescends to require of him (for He, being God, needs nothing from us, rather it is us who need Him for everything), neglecting docility to the Holy Ghost, etc. These defects will inevitably lead the soul back to the vices it heartily detests.

    When it comes to purity, the battle is for most souls one that ends only with death. Such interior souls must neither give in that sort of complacency that can lead to spiritual blindness and abuse of grace (e.g. "Hey I prayed the Rosary this morning, so it doesn't matter if I see that Rated R film because I asked Mary to help me," or "Well, why not give in just for today. I can go to confession on Sunday"); or the apathy and discouragement that can lead to melancholy, acedia and eventually despair.

    The battle is very difficult, so an interior soul that is assailed by these vices cannot contemplate the Priestly vocation, for such a sublime state presupposes a very great progress in the interior life (even reaching the threshold of the Unitive life) and a stable emotional and psychological constitution that is unperturbed by the violent temptations and vexations that are concomitant with the battle against impurity. As a Priest, one would have to bear the burden of all the souls over whom one will have chosen to exercise pastoral care, and that entails a very great spiritual, mental and physical strength that the souls above-mentioned necessarily lack because of their constant struggles.

    It may happen that an interior soul such as the one in question does indeed have a Priestly vocation and at the present moment is fighting against violent vices of impurity. The sign that the vocation is of divine origin will be how generous, magnanimous, ruthlessly self-effacing is the soul in its zealous and earnest quest for greater prayer, self-abnegation, mortification and filial abandonment to God in offering Him the Crosses He deigns to send us (anything from stubbing your toe to a tragic loss in the family). Such an individual will indeed make progress in the Purgative life and overcome their vices to the point where they are ready for the passive purification of the senses that is a prelude to the Illuminative way of spiritual proficients. This will necessarily eradicate any residual effects that the vices may have left behind, even after being overcome. Such a man will be worthy of the clerical dignity, and his progress toward the Unitive life of the perfect should continue as he ascends through the Minor Ordes unto the Major Orders.

    It also comes to pass that there are interior souls who have to struggle against vices but are exceedingly attracted to the Priesthood, whilst retarding their progress in the spiritual life by their neglect of the means of grace in their war against impurity. Even while they are degenerating, these souls still feel a strong proclivity to matriculate into a Seminary and attain to holy Tonsure and the other Orders. However, according to the cases I have observed, this attraction is not a vocation of divine origin, but rather a very perilous temptation whereby the devil seeks to entrap these souls and use them in order to profane Holy Orders and work the destruction of numberless faithful whom they will mislead or outright pervert with their tepidity and weakness. If the attraction to Holy Orders remains even after a considerate amount of culpable retardation in the spiritual life (especially if it proportionally increases as the soul fails to combat temptations), then it is definitely a perilous and veiled temptation, stemming from spiritual pride and complacency and artfully manipulated by the devil.

    The scandals in the present day clergy may have their ultimate origin from such an above-mentioned delusion whereby unfit candidates for Holy Orders have seduced themselves into boldly and audaciously seeking and obtaining these Orders, to the greater destruction of their souls and those of the faithful over whom they pretend to exercise pastoral care. It is my private opinion that such a thing may be a sign of reprobation, if due penance is not done.

    Again, these are general remarks, based on the cases which I have encountered. They may not apply to you, but they are made because I know for certain that you are not the only young man in such a predicament. People have no idea how many interior souls there are who face a similar situation and even worse...

    I hope these notes may help you and others somehow, but please do seek the counsel of a learned and holy Priest. He alone can help you.

    Be assured of my prayers  :pray:
    Please ignore all that I have written regarding sedevacantism.


    Offline Vladimir

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    Signs of a vocation and counter- indicators
    « Reply #2 on: August 06, 2011, 09:29:22 AM »
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  • You can't really discern a vocation to the priesthood until you live in the seminary. Going into a seminary is not making a guarantee that you will become a priest. It is not a commitment. So if you want to know - first find a spiritual director, then go to the seminary. If you make it through the 7 years and the superiors think you have a vocation - you will know once a bishop ordains you.

    In the meantime though: do your best to live a holy life. You can do this in any station of life. Do good and avoid evil, extirpate your sinful habits and imperfections, pray for the living and the dead, practice exterior mortification that is appropriate to one's station in life and spiritual maturity (as a general rule, anything beyond basic mortifications such as: waking up early to pray, taking a cold shower, etc are not to be undertaken without the discretion of a spiritual director; even such simple mortifications that can be practised by the great multitude of the faithful are not to be practised if they impede on the person's ability to fulfill the duties of his station - for most laypersons, mortification can simply mean refraining from sin or refraining from indulging in lawful pleasures such as food).

    Use your time in the world to mature in the spiritual life and become what God wants you to be in your current station. Seminary is not a place to mature, but a place to discern.

    the above information is paraphrased from a priest, not myself.




    Offline Canuk the Lionheart

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    Signs of a vocation and counter- indicators
    « Reply #3 on: August 07, 2011, 01:23:07 AM »
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  • Thanks Hobbledehoy, as usual your post was well put and very helpful! To be frank I agree with you, and especially your 8th paragraph, in regards to the devil utilising pride and fear as leverage to get unfit candidates into the clergy… that was one of my main concerns and made me very wary in considering the seminary.

    Offline curiouscatholic23

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    Signs of a vocation and counter- indicators
    « Reply #4 on: August 07, 2011, 02:35:18 AM »
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  • This post is very interesing. Hobbledehoy, if I ask, where did you get this passage? Or is this just your own opinion?

    I am afraid that my desire for the priesthood is rooted in spiritual pride and scruples. I have committed hundreds of offenses against the 6th and 9th commandment, and I am wondering if I dug myself so much in a whole that even if I am in a state of grace, the fight for me just to be chaste to receive communion will weigh down the responsibilities of being responsible for other souls....no matter how much prayer and rosaries I do.

    Sometimes after I committed these sins in the past the first thing I thought of after I felt sorry for my sins were "the only way I can make up for this and save my soul and avoid hell is by dedicating my life to the cahtolic religion and becoming a priest." Now I am starting to wonder if this was spiritual pride obstructing true repentance and humility.


    Offline curiouscatholic23

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    Signs of a vocation and counter- indicators
    « Reply #5 on: August 07, 2011, 02:47:56 AM »
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  • I keep re-reading the post and it describes me accurately. The more sins I committ, either venial or mortal, the more I feel that I have to become a priest in order to make up for these sins. Is this unusual?

    Another thing I struggle with is custody of the eyes. Is it always a mortal sin to stare at a woman? Like lets say a girl in a really short mini skirt walks by and I notice her legs. At what point does that stare become a mortal sin?

    Im finding this sin, custody of the eyes, my main barrier to receiving communion. Before it used to be fornication, but now it is this. I am wondering if maybe I am being too hard on myself considering that in most major cities young women knowingly and unknowingly dress like whores these days?

    Offline Hobbledehoy

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    Signs of a vocation and counter- indicators
    « Reply #6 on: August 07, 2011, 02:49:13 PM »
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  • Quote from: curiouscatholic23
    This post is very interesing. Hobbledehoy, if I ask, where did you get this passage? Or is this just your own opinion?


    Welcome to CathInfo curiouscatholic23!

    As I have written, those were general remarks and personal observations, based on the cases which I have encountered: so yeah, it's just my own opinion, which is all I can offer.

    As I counseled Canuk so I counsel you now: seek the direction of a holy and learned Priest whom you trust, and ask his counsel in all humility and sincerity. He alone would be able to direct you efficiently and efficaciously, being endowed with the graces of state peculiar to Holy Orders alone. I am just some random layman who posts on this Forum.

    Quote
    Sometimes after I committed these sins in the past the first thing I thought of after I felt sorry for my sins were "the only way I can make up for this and save my soul and avoid hell is by dedicating my life to the cahtolic religion and becoming a priest." Now I am starting to wonder if this was spiritual pride obstructing true repentance and humility.


    Now this is just my observation based on what you have written, and it is general because I do not know your particular predicament:

    It comes to pass that certain interior souls who struggle against vices feel sometimes compelled to enter the Priesthood in order to lead a life of penance and prayer that will repair the damage done by their sins and rehabilitate them from such damage. This I believe is a delusion, because a Priest is supposed to not only live a life of prayer and penance, but guide the layfolk in the capacity and competence of teacher at the pulpit, judge in the Confessional, counselor in spiritual direction, an alter Christus at the Altar and in administering the Sacraments necessary for salvation and perfection. The incompatibility between the grave duties of the Priesthood with the lifetime effort of fighting violent temptations originating from long-acquired vices is something you yourself admit:

    Quote
    I am wondering if I dug myself so much in a whole that even if I am in a state of grace, the fight for me just to be chaste to receive communion will weigh down the responsibilities of being responsible for other souls....no matter how much prayer and rosaries I do.


    Only a holy and learned Priest will be able to tell you if you have a particular call for the life of prayer and penance that would enable you to repair for sin and reach high degrees of Christian perfection in a particular way (for, generally, every Catholic is called to the life of prayer, penance, reparation and the attainment of Christian perfection, and this is essentially the epitome of the message of Our Lady of the Rosary at Fatima).

    If this life of prayer and penance entails the Sacred Priesthood, your progress in efficiently rooting out vice and advancing in detachment from self and things could be a sing that such a vocation is indeed of divine origin. For a man becomes a Priest first for the greater glory of God, and then for the salvation of souls: there is nothing of self in this equation, except insofar as pertains the mortification and self-abnegation necessary to destroy self and with devout enthusiasm embrace and espouse the Holy Cross, for the Priesthood, most especially in our day, is nothing less than a prolonged Via Crucis, a participation in the immolation of the Divine Victim upon Mount Calvary, anything less will bring forth the sort of mediocrity that will forthwith lead you to a tepidity and complacency [if not to outright scandal] that has been the cause of this whole present-day mess with the Church.

    If you feel you have a particular call for a life of penance and prayer with entire dedication, and have yet to reach the point of victory over vice, then perhaps the Religious life may be an option, or a variant thereof [such as becoming a Tertiary, Oblate, Confraternity member of some sort, or leading the life of "urban hermits" as they are called].

    Only a holy and learned Priest whom you trust can say anything definitive regarding your situation. Again, I'm just some random guy who's read a lot and has met many kinds of people.
    Please ignore all that I have written regarding sedevacantism.

    Offline curiouscatholic23

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    Signs of a vocation and counter- indicators
    « Reply #7 on: August 07, 2011, 03:09:55 PM »
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  • Thanks for that advice. Lately I have been considering that maybe I am called to consecrate myself to God- as a monk.

    What I absolutely fear is a "Fr". Cutie/"Fr". Corapi situation where I disgrace both myself and the priesthood. I fear this could happen if I became a priest because I am very charismatic, good looking, and flirtatious around attractive women. Could be a recipe for disaster.

    I also think my promiscuity may effect the way I counsel souls in the confessional because I could project my own shame regarding my own previous sins onto penitents, making me too harsh as a confessor.

    Anyway, Hobbledehoy- thank you for the posting. It was an accurate description of myself and quite frankly has helped convinced me right now that I am not worthy of the priesthood at the present moment. Although I will talk to some more experienced clergy, right now I am finding even that difficult considering my sedeprivationist views. Another person I am learning about is Louis Martin, St. Therese's father. He wanted to be a monk but because of the latin issues and other reasons he gave up on that, and instead did the best he could in another vocation.

    Hobbledehoy- thank you for the post you are a great writer. If I do ask myself have you yourself ever entered a seminary/monastery?


    Offline Hobbledehoy

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    Signs of a vocation and counter- indicators
    « Reply #8 on: August 07, 2011, 03:23:12 PM »
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  • Quote from: curiouscatholic23
    I keep re-reading the post and it describes me accurately. The more sins I committ, either venial or mortal, the more I feel that I have to become a priest in order to make up for these sins. Is this unusual?


    It is not as unusual as most people may think, and this hardly a new phenomenon. I believe many of the Priests and Bishops that have wrought great ruin against the Church in the past (and those who still do) at one point succumbed to such a delusion or a variant thereof.

    If there is no substantial progress in the interior life and in the attainment to Christian perfection, there can be no vocation to the Priesthood that is of divine origin. As I have written, it is my opinion that such a proclivity is a delusion arising from spiritual blindness and pride, or a delusion that is of demonic origin.

    Quote
    Another thing I struggle with is custody of the eyes. Is it always a mortal sin to stare at a woman? Like lets say a girl in a really short mini skirt walks by and I notice her legs. At what point does that stare become a mortal sin?


    From what I have read, that stare becomes a mortal sin when all of the following happen: 1) you become conscious of the fact that you actually looking at such a thing; 2) feel an involuntary delectation at such a sight (the initial rush of adrenaline through your veins that quickens the heart beats and begins to vex your mind); and 3) you consent with full deliberation to the involuntary delectation and make a positive effort to cultivate it into a greater or more prolonged delight.

    A knee-jerk reaction of staring automatically as an indecently-dressed dame walks by is not a sin at all if you do not consent to it, and you try all your best to distract yourself from it (by prayer especially, or thinking about something else, like algebra or economics or death or clowns), even if you feel that initial rush of adrenaline. It is the consent of the will that determines the culpability of an act.

    Quote
    I'm finding this sin, custody of the eyes, my main barrier to receiving communion. Before it used to be fornication, but now it is this. I am wondering if maybe I am being too hard on myself considering that in most major cities young women knowingly and unknowingly dress like whores these days?


    If you have reached a point whereat you were formerly given over to fornication and now are struggling chiefly with custody of the eyes, this is very good progress. It is natural for you to begin to be "hard on yourself" because you are undergoing a process of rehabilitation whereby by grace and the exercise of temperance and modesty you are undoing the desensitization to sin and impurity that modern day "culture" has propagated amongst the people.

    However, scruples (although initially salutary for the penitent who seeks to repair grave damage) can lead to discouragement and dissipation, and ultimately to give up on the struggle and give oneself over with wild abandon to vice. Remember that prudence is the "Moderatress" of the moral virtues, and you have to know what exactly constitutes sin and what does not.

    Yes, if you live in a city populated by indecent women, and you are constrained by exigencies of circumstance to face this situation on a daily basis, then your culpability would be lessened somewhat. But beware, my friend: for many have been destroyed by cultivating a lax conscience and being once more desensitized to sin and impurity in an even worse and more perilous way than hitherto, for now it would be spiritual blindness and presumption that could lull you into tepidity and make you blind as to the actual state of your soul.

    So yes, culpability is somewhat diminished in the particular case you cite, but there is absolutely no excuse: now that you are earnest in overcoming vice since you know the evil and hatefulness thereof, those situational factors that would lessen culpability in others would be so many reminders for you to have recourse to the means of grace (vocal and mental prayer, the Sacraments, devotion to Our Lady, etc.) or else run the risk of incurring greater culpability for having neglected the means of grace of which your coevals may not be aware (or, perhaps, will never be aware). Remember that God never allows you to be tempted beyond your strength, for, as St. Augustine taught, you are either given the strength to overcome temptation by grace or are called to pray for such strength and grace.

    Remember also to pray the Holy Rosary most especially for these intentions: 1) the grace to know with a full knowledge, to feel profoundly, to deplore and to detest your sins; 2) the grace to feel and realize the disorder of your life, to hold it in horror, to reduce it to rule, and amend it, and to correct yourself; and 3) the grace to know and detest the world, to put away from your soul, and keep out of it, all worldly and vain thoughts, and to renounce for ever the world and all its vanities - all this that you may be able to love God all the more generously and profoundly, with all the strength and energy of your being. This is the ultimate renovation of the sacred Baptismal vows that enabled you to become a member of the Mystical Body of Christ.
    Please ignore all that I have written regarding sedevacantism.

    Offline Hobbledehoy

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    Signs of a vocation and counter- indicators
    « Reply #9 on: August 07, 2011, 03:30:01 PM »
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  • Quote from: curiouscatholic23
    Hobbledehoy- thank you for the post you are a great writer.


    Ah, thanks ought to be given to God alone, Who has graciously vouchsafed to use a scoundrel like myself for the greater good of His servants. This is basically the only reason why I have not been sent to the Hell I deserve. I'm just a "useful idiot" :smirk:

    Quote
    If I do ask myself have you yourself ever entered a seminary/monastery?


    Nope. Such was never my vocation.

    I just like to read the books the Priests and Religious tend to read, and glance at the Seminarians' notes at times  :wink:
    Please ignore all that I have written regarding sedevacantism.

     

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