Parents Hindering a Vocation

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pauljmaxmi

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I feel that I am strongly called to the priesthood/religious life, and have felt this way for a number of years, but have only been actively discerning for the past two. I am 17, and it isn’t as though I am ready to run off to an order right after school, I still feel that college is important, but my parents are doing everything they can to hinder my vocation. For example, when retreat opportunities come up less than an hour away, they will not allow me to go. They will no allow me to visit with any other priests except our diocesan priest, who (not to judge) I don’t feel particularly good around because he just doesn’t feel like he is a terribly holy person. My parents tell me to use him as a spiritual director (if I must have one) so that he can educate me prayer life and other matters, but they know for a fact that they would even be shocked if they found him praying outside of Mass.

Additionally, they schedule things purposely so that I cannot go to many daily masses, and they won’t let me go to Church to spend time in front of the Blessed Sacrament. Perhaps even the most obvious, and hurtful subversion, is that they take care to always interupt evening prayer. Even though it is almost always at the same time, they come in, talk to me, ask me to do things, and I don’t think some time with the Lord in prayer is too much to ask. I even ask them to pray the rosary with me in the evening, and say that we are going to pray for vocations, and then they respond, “in order for us to pray for something, we would have to want it, wouldn’t we?” Consequently, I changed the prayer intention to an end to abortion…but they still refused. I am growing incredibly impatient with their hardheartedness, but I must still remain loyal to my parents and honor them. Any suggestions from you parents out there, or even from students who may be in the same situation?

Thanks.
 
I would recommend that you read the life story of St. Francis of Assisi to get some guidance on your dilemma. While honoring your father and mother are ordained by God Almighty, you are coming to a point in your life where you are responsible for your decisions. Your parents aren’t going to hold you hand and make your decisions forever. If you feel convicted about something, you should follow it. It may lead you down a path that your parents may not want you to go, but ultimately, your life will be based on YOUR decisions, not theirs. Stories of children following their parents footsteps, only to “wake up” in middle life to figure out that they are miserable are just too cliche.

Pray.

If your priest is making you feel uncomfortable, find someone else to talk to. Don’t just look for someone who will tell you what you want to hear. The easiest way to make someone a “mentor” and guide is to check if they have the fruit on the tree. Is their life worth duplicating? Look at your parents, and if you wouldn’t want to duplicate their life, then they are not adequate guides for you. Your parents are stewards over your life, until you are old and mature enough to take over stewardship for yourself. For some people, that happens at 16, some 30, some it never happens, and they end up living with mom until mom passes away!

If you feel a calling for a vocation, and have a particular order you would like to become involved with, contact them. Arm yourself with knowledge. Pray to God for spiritual strength and guidance. When you are ready to make a decision, sit your parents down and tell them what you’ve decided. Anticipate rejection or anger. If you understand that your parents may possibly get angry at you for following your own path, then when it happens, it won’t be so troubling for you. But consider the consequences of NOT following your vocation, a life of shattered hope and unfullfilled dreams. There is too much of that in the world already, and God and His people are not served by your misery and frustration.

I hope you find an answer, I have just touched on a few points, and could go on for much longer. Please feel free to IM me if you need any clarification. God bless you and I pray that God will shine a light on your path.
 
Your parents will probably accept whatever you decide eventually. They have had dreams for your future for the past 17 years and it’s difficult for them to let go of their dreams. Especially if you are an only child or an only son that they were expecting to carry on the family name or get grandchildren from. It’s selfish but we’re all selfish sometimes. Pray for them. Maybe you could find a good priest in an order that has a website that you could email and get some direction from. Your in my prayers!
 
Read the story of St Catherine of Siena (her mother was strongly opposed to St Catherine’s desire to be a sister)…Louis De Wohl wrote a good book about her.

SV
 
I pray that God will keep prompting you until it is clear how you should proceed.

I felt that calling once, but I let the pressures of family and the material world overpower that calling. My parents are devout Catholics and loved the idea of a son-priest, but my mother was terribly upset at that thought of losing her son (at least for the seven years I would be in seminary). Combining fear of leaving the material world with the thought of saddening my mother, I declined the calling.

I recommend you just pray that God will keep this fire burning, praying “Thy will be done”, and ask that He open the doors in your life that He wants for you…then watch for those doors to open.

BTW, the Legionaires of Christ (in Conneticut) were the most appealing to me…and they will come to your home for a visit & dinner if you show interest in them (at least they did for me). It could be persuasive for your family to have such a fine example of a young seminarian visit your home.
 
Thank you all for your counsel and for your prayers of support. I greatly appreciate them. Thank you Chris W, I am acquainted with the Legionaries of Christ, and am looking at them as a possible order, and they did offer to do the visit and dinner thing, but my parents declined the idea.

Thanks Apologia100, I know that I will have to follow my own plans, and I shall, I am simply in sorts with implementing steps to discern, and having them cut off, but I can pray wherever, God knows and listens. Thanks.
 
What an awesome young man you are!

You are right that you still have plenty of time ahead of you and that soon enough you will be an adult and able to go out on your own regardless of your parents’ wishes.

The internet is a wonderful medium. Perhaps you can write to the orders you are interested in, explain your situation, and ask if they can correspond with your via email for spiritual direction?

And, lastly, do you have any idea WHY they are so completely opposed to you becoming a priest?
 
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pauljmaxmi:
I feel that I am strongly called to the priesthood/religious life, … but my parents are doing everything they can to hinder my vocation. …they schedule things purposely so that I cannot go to many daily masses, and they won’t let me go to Church to spend time in front of the Blessed Sacrament. Perhaps even the most obvious, and hurtful subversion, is that they take care to always interupt evening prayer. … I even ask them to pray the rosary with me in the evening, and say that we are going to pray for vocations, and then they respond, “in order for us to pray for something, we would have to want it, wouldn’t we?” … I am growing incredibly impatient with their hardheartedness, but I must still remain loyal to my parents and honor them. Any suggestions from you parents out there, …
Thanks.
Dear pauljmaxmi,
My heart deeply goes out to you…I had tears as I read your situation.

You know, it is said that priests are tempted 10X more than the average person. It really sounds to me that you are being truly put to the test…Satan does not want you to be a priest and you must endure all this suffering for now…but in the end, God’s Will will be done as long as you persevere in responding to His call. Keep discerning through the Holy Spirit, God’s Will for you.

I would highly recommend that you persue a good spiritual director who can help with this discernment and calling. I do not see it as disrespect to your parents [and I am a parent of six kids, three of whom are boys] if you would quietly and privately consult a priest you feel comfortable with and trust. Continue to go to daily Mass as often as you can, and when you can’t, make a spiritual communion. Also, you can send your guardian angel to the adoration chapel when you can’t make it, or you can place your own thoughts, heart and prayers there before the Lord. [Once I found an internet site that had the Blessed Eucharist “live” online. I’ll see if I can find that for you and if it is legitimate.] Do you know the prayer to St. Michael the Archangel? You need his protection. St. John Vianney is patron saint of parish priests who was continually tempted by the devil. He too will pray for you, and of course, St. Joseph along with our Lady, Queen of the Apostles.

You are in my prayers, for I have a little nine year old Paul who says he wants to be a priest also. I would do anything to see that happen, as long as it is God’s Will.

Take care, and God bless you. You are very special!!!
 
Oh I can only pray that I have a son who at 17 is as deeply committed to Christ as you. I am not your mother but I have to say that I am VERY proud of you for listening to God.

On the subject of a spiritual advisor, did you know that you can get a spiritual director right online? Its through the Legionaries of Christ. I saw it on either their website or the Regnum Christi site.

That might help your situation. You can also get weekly meditations and I think there is a site out there for adoration too!

Not trying to undermind your parents but I am a sister in Christ and that counts for something.

God Bless you sweetie!!
 
Speaking as a parent, I can understand that it’s hard to give up the hope for grandchildren. But keep praying & know that many are praying for you & for your parents. We need good, holy priests! Your parents will get used to it eventually. Go away to a good university & they’ll have 4 years to get used to the idea of you not being home! 🙂
 
One blessing you appear to have is the access to the internet.

Use it, research the different orders and other options for your vocation. Use email to talk to people about it. Look for a college that would nurture your vocation further. There are some good Catholic colleges (loyal to the magisterium) out there (and unfortunately some bad ones that claim to be Catholic as well).

Respect and Honor your parents and be patient with them.

:gopray: May God bless you as you endeavor to discern and follow His will for you.
 
Following on to T.A.Stobie’s advice, perhaps you could email your local bishop, explain your situation and ask for advice. Through email, you could even do this anonymously if you wish.
 
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pauljmaxmi:
I feel that I am strongly called to the priesthood/religious life, and have felt this way for a number of years, but have only been actively discerning for the past two. I am 17, and it isn’t as though I am ready to run off to an order right after school, I still feel that college is important, but my parents are doing everything they can to hinder my vocation.
Thanks.
First I wish to assure you that we will all pray for you. As others have pointed out, great Saints have gone through much the same resistance to their vocation from their parents. St. Francis of Assisi and St. Claire for example.

Just to put a little perspective on it…It is good your parents are making it difficult. If God is calling and He very well may be, He is not likely to make the road easy.

In the age of great Saints, we found many parents blocking the road to their children’s vocation. That in the end was a good thing. What many people today do not seem to appreciate nor realize is that some of our worst religious vocations of the last century (and many centuries before that) came from homes where vocations were prized not as giving Glory to God, but to give glory to the parents. That may sound shocking but it is true.

In my own family, the European mentality cultural Catholic idea that parents chose each child’s vocation was rampant.

Some of our ancestors would announce the birth with the note that this child will be a doctor, this one will be a priest, and this one a nun. The children were expected to follow that and they did. In my lifetime I recall with great sadness three of my relatives as children being given no choice. They became a priest and two nuns. All three of those vocations were a disaster.From experience I know that it helped no one, least of all the church.

My great Aunt Marie (who I am named after) was one of those children. I loved her dearly. She was a very wonderful person but so sad. When her parents died she had been a nun for 28 years. Finally, the order listened to her and let her leave. Marie was a good and Holy Catholic. She was not called to be a good and Holy Nun.

I see this in history and in my family as part of the cause of the vocation crisis today. We had lots of forced vocations but we did not have lots of true vocations.

I am excited to think God may be calling you and strange as it may seem, very happy He is making it difficult. If your vocation calling is real…“I expect we shall be able to say we knew you when and praise God for the results of the faithful and dedicated priest you will become.”
 
Keep talking to them ( your parents) and keep praying. Im 17 too but I’m not sure of my vocation yet. Somethings about being a priest that I do know about is that college makes you look very good for the seminary since it shows hard work and dedication and being at college for 4 years your bound to have learned something:thumbsup: , so look for a good Catholic college that is in line with the teachings of the church and is faithful to the local bishop.

I’ll be prayin for ya!

Peace and God Bless!
 
Parents tend to worry about any one thing that their children seem focused on–if you had a girlfriend or were a very competitive athlete they would probably act the same way. With a vocation it is difficult because it is a GOOD thing that is a sacrifice for you as well, and it is natural to look for support from those closest to you.

But take advantage of the proximity of your parish priest! If you do become a seminarian you will certainly need his recommendation, so the more you know him the better. And God often puts unlikely mentors in our path. Please post again and keep us posted on your situation–you will be in our prayers.
 
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