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Q & A with Father Anthony



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Should I try to repair our situation before I go?

Chris asks:

Dear Fr Anthony,

For about 6 months to a year now, I've been contemplating the priesthood after university. I'm 15 years old now, and the priesthood is the only profession I see in the world that seems honorable and truthful anymore. The problem is twofold. Firstly, I'm not on speaking terms with my father due to a messy family situation. I know he would not approve of my considered vocation because he's Anglican and disapproves of my choice to be Catholic. Should I try to repair our relationship before I go any further?

Secondly, I've told my mother about my contemplation, and she seems upset. She keeps saying that she wants grandchildren, and I keep saying that my brother can give her those, and I think the priesthood is a more fitting life for me. How do I make her truly understand that this is what I'm really considering as my life path?

God bless,

Dear Chris,

 You are certainly in a difficult set of circumstances, and in such a situation it is always good to distinguish between the ideal and the possible (with God's grace), and to be very aware of what depends on you and what doesn't.

One thing that you can do with the help of God's grace, and which is of greatest importance, is to deepen more and more into the reality and the essence of the priesthood. God can attract us to the priesthood through many secondary things (the work a priest does, its dignity or honorability, the benefit for one’s own salvation, etc..) but the priesthood is a far greater mystery than all of those secondary reasons combined. It is God's special choice to live in one’s own life, in a radical and complete way, Christ's redemptive mission, his priesthood. It goes beyond a profession or a function. No one can take this upon himself, it has to be God who calls. We can only understand it in prayer, studying prayerfully all the Church tells us about the priesthood and asking the Holy Spirit to enlighten us.

You also have in your own hands and are fully responsible for placing all the means in your life to come closer to Christ and make him the center of your life. These means were given to you with the gift of faith, and so your ability to use them is itself a gift from God. They are prayer, the sacraments and the Church's teachings.

You cannot be responsible for the decisions of your parents or their dispositions. You can try all you can to help them to understand and accept what God is doing in your life, and you should, but ultimately their response is theirs to give. After you have done all you can, you should not base your decision on what they accept but on what you know God wants you to do.

You can perhaps improve on the way you explain it to your mother, you can make an extra effort to repair your relationship with your father, but the results you get are not going to depend simply on your efforts but on their willingness and effort to meet you half-way. You still have some time before you will be able to enter the seminary, so use it well to make as much progress as possible in your personal life and in solving these problems with which you are faced, and keep your eyes firmly on the goal of loving and serving Christ in whatever way he wants you to.

God bless.

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