I'm a young man who is trying to seek answers to my concerns. And I was completely overjoyed when I found this internet site about discerning priestly vocations. I was wondering if I can share my story with you so that I can move forward with this.
I have come to a pivotal life-changing decision. For nearly 3 years now, I have felt an inner tug to discern my vocation in life. I have been suppressing this 'inner voice' (for lack of a better word) in fear that it may be a real and valid calling from God to the priesthood.
I have now come to terms with it and I am trying to increase my faith and prayers so that it may become clearer to me. I have also shared this with my extremely understanding Catholic girlfriend (who is also my bestfriend). However, my real fear in going through with this discernment is realizing in the end that it wasn't God calling me, but merely a voice that I wish I heard. For you see, I would truly like to become a priest, but there are some things in my past, when I was younger and more naive, that may become stumbling blocks right now. I have not been able to raise them up in the Sacrament of Reconciliation because they are quite disheartening. To sum it all up they have been sins regarding sexual deviation--which to this date I cannot come to terms with, solely because I cannot bring them up during Confessions. It has been close to 10 years since these offences against God.
I was wondering if I would be able to receive full absolution for this, if I did bring it forward in the Sacrament of Reconciliation? I have not had pre-marital sex, but I think it may as well be just as bad. Would things like this hinder somebody from entering the priesthood? What should I do to make my vocation in life even clearer?
I have been overcoming some of the temptations in life with the grace of God just recently, but I wouldn't know what to do if the priesthood isn't for me. I sincerely think that these sins were committed in naivete, and I have conquered them, but I want the Lord to conquer them and relinquish me from these sins that now haunt me.
God bless you always and those whom you assist,
PS. It truly was a blessing that I found this site!
I received your email on Sunday and am just now responding. However, I want you to know you have been in my prayers these past few days. It is important to find a priest you can talk to about your vocation. He may be the same priest you go to confession to, but it would also be possible to go somewhere for an "anonymous" confession. You can be assured of God's complete forgiveness and full absolution. The vocation discernment would focus on your present relationship with God. Of course, things you have experienced in the past may influence your actual behavior and thinking, so at some point you may need to address them in a more in depth way. But it is better to take things slowly, let a local priest know you are thinking about a vocation and take it from there.
Let me know how it goes. Again, you are in my prayers.
Fr. Phil Bloom
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