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Q & A with Father Anthony



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I feel like a vocation is being shoved down my throat because people say we need priests.

Larry asks:

Dear Fr Anthony,

I've never really felt a calling to much of anything. But I've for a long time felt a strong desire to get married and have children. I've been blessed with many talents and also a profound interest in several fields of science. My dilemma comes in that many people at our church feel that I should be a priest, I think this may have something to do with our lack of priests in our diocese and also because I'm one of few youth that frequently helps out and attends events. Not that I'm completely closed to the idea, but I feel like it's being shoved down my throat, any suggestions as how to deal with this?

Dear Larry,

When something committing is mentioned to us with some expectation as regards our answer, it is almost automatic to feel it is being forced on us, especially if we didn’t think of it first. I think you have to go beyond that reaction.

Look at yourself: you are one of the few youth that frequently helps out and attends events. As if that weren't enough, now people seem to think you might be called to be a priest. It almost makes you wish you were just like everyone else and never showed up in the first place, doesn't it? To crown your confusion and bad luck, you are not closed to the idea, and so think there might be some truth to it, while at the same time you have abilities and are attracted to other ways of life and interests.

One good thing at least is surfacing: you can think, and you tend towards honesty. Maybe that's two.

To shed some light on the matter, let's get back to what a vocation is. A vocation is a call, from God. People don't give you a vocation, and you can't give yourself one - only God can. Even when a spiritual director knows you and encourages you to follow a vocation, all he really is doing is saying that he sees all the signs that God may be calling you. But, only God can call you. And now for the other part: only you can answer him. Only you can live your vocation; nobody else can do it for you. Nobody else can give the fruit God is expecting from you.

The question you need to take to God in prayer (your thanksgiving after Communion is a great time for this, or a visit to our Lord in the Eucharist) is this: "You have taken care of me, you gave me a different way of reacting than my friends, you have drawn me to you by helping out and attending events. You have also placed normal desires for marriage and family in my heart. You have made me aware of the needs of those around me, so I am not closed to the priesthood. Do you want to use me as your priest? Is that where you are leading me? Is it you speaking through those people who mention it to me?"

Spend some time considering two more realities: what Christ has done for you and the needs people around you have. Then I think you need to offer yourself to God, and tell him you are willing to do anything for him.

If, as well as the above, you seek out a spiritual director for yourself you will surely get the right answer to your question.

God bless,

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