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Q & A with Father Anthony



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Could you give me advice, I am entering the seminary in 3 days but I am doubting my vocation.

Harold asks:

Dear Fr Anthony,

I am 17 years old and a candidate for a diocesan seminary, but recently I have doubts about my vocation. I was convinced that the seminary life is for me however now I'm not too sure. I am happy every time I attend retreats at the seminary, but I have developed a strong attraction to girls. I never dated girls during my high school years and now I have a strong desire to meet someone. I don't want to tell my spiritual director because I'm afraid it can spoil our great relationship. I'm entering the seminary in 3 days. What can I do? Does it mean that I don't have a vocation to enter the seminary? Please help, I'm in a desperate situation where I can't even sleep.         

Dear Harold,

I hope and pray you didn't put off entering the seminary.

First thing you need to correct, and this is the true secret of being able to progress in the spiritual life and your vocation, is not to keep secrets from your spiritual director. It would be like going in for a check-up and not telling the doctor about the pain in your side. Don't worry about having a good relationship with your spiritual director, since we often mean by this a comfortable, friendly relationship with no differences of opinion, little self-criticism or awareness of areas to progress in, and little challenge to grow. The purpose of spiritual direction is to face your everyday reality, discover what God is asking of you long- and short-term, find the means to attain it, and be accountable as to how you are applying them, adjusting as you progress. So openness and frankness, the absolute rejection of human respect is necessary if spiritual direction is going to be more than an empty formality.

As regards your attraction to girls, it is definitely NOT a sign against your vocation. And if the attraction is such that you feel it would be impossible to give up human love, it puts you squarely in the center of what Christ was talking about when he said to Peter: for man it is impossible but for God all things are possible.

Celibacy is a lot more than giving up human love. If that's all it were it would be inhuman. Celibacy is not giving up love but choosing a different love, a spiritual love for Christ, his Church and souls. It is sustained in prayer and vigilance, and lived in sacrifice by giving ourselves to what we are meant to be. It is object of much temptation, especially today, from inside and outside ourselves, but it is the secret to having a fruitful priesthood. It requires self-control, care in the use of the media, discretion in the way we deal with people. But the relationship with Christ that evolves from it is entirely special. The peace it gives, and the trust in God it brings into your life is beyond describing. It is well worth fighting for. Welcome to the battle.

God bless.

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