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“Ask a Priest: What If Mom Opposes My Possible Vocation?”
Q: For a couple of months, I have been discerning a vocation to the priesthood, and I can now say that I do feel as though I have a vocation. My concern is that my mother is against me becoming a priest. I mentioned to her about my vocation and she reacted in a negative way. Ever since then, I have not mentioned it to her. I’m 18 and plan to join seminary in about two to three years. But I can’t help thinking, what if, when I tell her I’m leaving, she acts in a disordered way and tries to prevent me from going? I do not plan on bringing up the subject until the seminary accepts me. Any advice? Should I pray for her? – K.A.
Answered by Fr. Edward McIlmail, LC
A: It’s great to hear that you are open to the idea of the priesthood. While you feel sure of having a vocation, the process of discernment is also very much in the hands of the Church.
A vocation comes from Jesus, and he calls whomever he wants. This basic fact is good to keep in mind. Following a vocation is about being open to what Jesus wants, not what a family member wants.
To follow a priestly call in no way would dishonor your mom. Loyalty to God never contradicts the fitting honor that we owe to our parents.
Rather than speculate about what your mom will do if and when you leave for the seminary, you might try to be proactive and engage her in conversations at opportune moments. See whether she understands that God call people to different paths, with an eye toward their holiness and happiness.
You might also see whether Mom has a particular concern about whether the priesthood would be a good fit for you.
For now, the best thing would be to intensify your prayer life and sacramental life. Feel free to offer some of that for Mom. She, too, is on a spiritual journey. God might be inviting her to greater generosity and to a greater openness to his will.
A vocation can help to bring all the family into a deeper life of faith. This is a moment for Mom to go deeper into her confidence in God’s providence.
For yourself, it would be good to find a spiritual director, perhaps a vocation director or regular confessor.
Stay close to the Blessed Virgin Mary through the rosary. She will be there to help you … and your mom.
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