While surfing the net, I read blogs about people discerning their religious or priestly calling. I always respond with encouragement; what do they have to lose – time, money, opportunities? As you can see, the seminary experience is still a vibrant part of my life even as I joyfully embrace being a husband & a father.
I entered the seminary after high-school though I wanted to enter earlier. For me, living & working for God alone is the best way to spend one’s life. In view of eternity, every career pales in comparison.
But after the first year, I felt uneasy. I confided this to my spiritual director who encouraged me to persevere. This happened every year & I was assured that doubts are normal. By the end of my 9th year of temporary vows, I had to decide to do them for good or not make them at all – at least not then.
Though I have been faithful to my vows, I do not have the “moral certainty” that I can be celibate for life. A priest suggested to make the vows regardless and just get laicized if needed. But I did not want to make promises that I am not sure of keeping. So, I bailed. It was hard starting over. I complained to God saying that I’ve given Him the best years of my life & now I cannot find a soul mate. After 12 years, I met her. I have marriage vows now & I know I can keep those. And those temporary religious vows that I made & kept gave me the best of both worlds. I speak highly of religious life & the priesthood to my children in case God wants to call them later.
So, if anyone wants to consider the seminary, know that it comes from the word meaning seed. The seed of God’s call needs a protective environment lest the evil one eat it like a bird or the cares of the world strangle it like weeds. The seminary is place to take care of this call, to hear it clearly & understand it. Sometimes, the call is temporary or is different. But if one goes there with a sincere desire to follow God, then everything will work out even if one will have to leave it to follow God.