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Q & A with Father Anthony

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Am I being fair to this guy I'm dating when I'm pretty sure I want to join an order?

Dorrie asks:

Dear Fr Anthony,

I am 16 and I've been discerning religious life for really as long as I can remember. This year I have become rather serious about my discernment process. I have been on "come and see" weekends with two different orders and I think that I have found an order that is perfect for me. In fact I just returned today from another visit with that order. The problem is that I have been going out with a guy for a month now and haven't mentioned the vocation at all. He really likes me and I enjoy being with him. I know that he is serious about this relationship but in my heart I am not. I feel like I am just using him to pass time until I can enter the community. I think that dating is important to discernment but I keep wondering if I am being fair to this boy. Any advice?


Dear Dorrie,

I would agree with what your conscience seems to be telling you. You are not being fair to your friend, since he is expecting much more from this relationship than you are prepared to give. He is open to it leading further, and you know that you shouldn't let that happen since you believe you have a vocation.

So this is the situation you are in: You are trying to do something good (be faithful to your possible vocation) but to do that and date at the same time is leading you to be unfair with your boyfriend. So your dating has taught you an important lesson; that dating and vocation are now becoming incompatible. You can't honestly do both at the same time without compromising one or the other. Now may be the time to take another step in your vocation journey (I am not calling it discernment since you seem to have discerned that you may have a vocation): the step of putting your vocation first and recognizing, that even though dating feels good, it is not the wisest thing for you at this stage, or the fairest way of treating your friend.

Speak to Christ about this when you go to Communion.

God bless.

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