Before we get to the subject of today’s post, I wanted to say that I can tell from the site statistics and the conversations I’ve had over the last couple of weeks that a lot of people have been reading these posts. I would like to thank everyone for taking the time out to read this Englishman’s musings on a rather delicate subject.
Additionally, I would just like to encourage everyone to give their two cents in the Comment Box at the end of each article. You don’t have to use your real name or email address if you’d prefer to remain anonymous. It’s perfectly acceptable to submit comments under the name of “Balaam’s Donkey” or with an email address of email@example.com…
It was my hope that publishing this series would spark some much-needed open discussion among our community. I know that conversations certainly have been going on among different groups, but I’d invite everyone to make use of the Comment Box since, if you share your perspective here, you’ll get to enlighten the entire world (wide web)!
So, now that’s been said, let’s get underway with today’s subject. Today will be a short post about another potential cause for confusion in the Catholic dating scene and a reason why guys might sometimes refrain from asking out the lady folk. It is a uniquely Catholic issue, the question of “discernment”.
I used to be indecisive…now I’m not so sure
If you’re a non-Catholic, your dating life should not be too greatly impacted if you find within yourself a growing desire to become an ordained minister. However, if you’re Catholic, it’s “kind of a big deal”, just like Ron Burgundy. Although this is not the case for all Catholic rites, within the Roman Rite of the Church, those who are called forward to ordained ministry must be willing to submit to the celibate lifestyle.
As I’m sure most Catholic guys can attest, the question of vocation is one over which many struggle. Am I called to the celibate life? Am I called to married life? These are weighty questions and ones which are rarely easy to answer. This can, unfortunately, have some nasty consequences…
Unable to determine his calling, a guy may neither pursue priesthood nor marriage, but instead half-heartedly vacillate between the two. Unfortunately, even worse, the question of discernment can be used by a guy as an easy escape out of a romantic relationship which has got a bit heavy and complicated…
My suggestion to the guys here is simple: be purposeful! If you’re discerning, then discern! Contact the vocations office, got to explorer days, get a spiritual director and make your discernment a priority! Don’t let your discernment be aimless! If God wants you to become a priest, then that’s the best place for you to be. Give it your all and do not be afraid!
I would invite everyone, regardless of their particular vocation, to listen to Fr. Matt Spahr’s talk on discernment which he gave at Theology On Tap last year.
Having Nun Of It
Obviously, what I wrote above concerning a guy discerning the priesthood can equally apply to ladies considering religious life. My advice is the same – be purposeful in your discernment.
When I mentioned the subject of this post, one of my friends asked me to say something else concerning this topic. He wanted me to point out that, if it is thought that a lady is discerning to become a nun, even if she only mentioned it as a passing thought, it’s extreeeeemely unlikely that any Catholic guy will try asking her out.
So, ladies, if it was known that you were discerning the religious life, but you have subsequently concluded that you are instead called to the married life, you might want to make sure that this new information is well known. I mean, what guy wants to compete with Jesus?!