Author Topic: Anyone have experience with job interviews?  (Read 1825 times)

Offline Miriam_M

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Re: Anyone have experience with job interviews?
« Reply #60 on: January 05, 2021, 01:18:09 AM »
Just a couple of months ago our priest told a training brother to quit and get a job to pay off his debt of $20,000.  He told him to go back to Virginia to get the job seeing it would take longer to pay off the US student loan with Canadian funds.  That wasn't his only problem.  During Lent last year he was told to put his "Denzinger: Sources of dogma" book away for Lent.  Some how from Denzinger he got the wrong idea that he was superior to all women (similar to GOG).  At lunch one time I witnessed him being quite rude to a woman.  Afterwards I told him that he owes her an apology.  He didn't think he did because he said superiors don't apologize.  I told him he was not her superior.  She stopped going to our parish because of him.  When we were at the priests house I again told him that he owes her an apology.  Apparently that was all the priest needed.  He had his own issues with him too.  Shortly after that the priest asked him to leave.  I'm not sorry if I influenced the priest in asking him to leave.  Some men just are not cut out to be priests or brothers.  I'm not posting this to get a reply from you Daniel.  Just saying.

Well just my two cents,

Giving that young man the benefit of the doubt, it doesn't sound to me like he "wasn't cut out" to be a brother. It really sounds quite tragic. The young man had a vocation, but his life was laid waste at the hands of a priest who chose rather to give up on him rather than to help him out of his error. And the irony is that this young man may not have ended up in error had he not been so diligent in reading up on the faith.

Daniel, you reveal that you don't know what you're talking about when it comes to identifying vocations.  You are hardly an expert.  Neither am I!  However, I do know more about the process than you do -- that is obvious. 

Any man or woman whose virtue is undeveloped relative to the moment of his or her likely entrance into religious life is not ready to enter that life.  It requires enough motivation that a person called by God would already have been visibly growing in virtue -- especially the virtue of charity -- considerably prior. Typically, such a candidate has been receiving frequent spiritual direction, and that direction is also paying off.

We had a couple of situations locally that demonstrate the difference between two young men, both of whom expressed interest in their local apostolate. It seemed always clear to me which of the two had a vocation and which had not, but the response of the spiritual director to the two confirmed what most people, just like me, could have observed:

The first one who came in for direction dragged his feet a lot, about everything, by the way.  And today, in his 30's, he is still living at home with his mother, which occurred long before the pandemic. If by the time a man is in his late 20's he has never shown a specific direction, held down a steady job, etc., that is first of all a bad sign. Second, though, he never showed an interest in meeting the congregation after Mass, at receptions, even though he had abundant opportunity to and had been encouraged by the director. Never extended himself to others in the parish. Second very bad sign -- that such activity does not come "naturally," even automatically, to someone supposedly destined for religious life. This is obviously an active order, not a contemplative one. Third, he never took any initiative with regard to charitable outreach in the parish or ways to help out the priest, his director. Any of us at our small parish would have seen that, if he had.

The second candidate had been discerning a vocation for some time, and when he came in for direction to the same director, he was the same age as the other one.  However, he had already held the same steady job, lowly but respectable though it was, for many years -- so much so that he had already built up a seminary fund for himself -- close to all of it. And although I would not call him an extrovert any more than the first man, he showed great interest in the congregation and great charity for us.  So he already possessed several natural and supernatural virtues that the other lacked.

Final point:  The first candidate had the support of his mother, although his father was deceased.  The second candidate had the support of zero family members -- neither parent nor siblings.  So the difference between them could not be attributed to external factors like family support.

I am not the least bit surprised at the different outcomes:  The first man was rejected as being inappropriate for the seminary, while the second one was accepted and is doing beautifully in his second year there.  The first one moved back home with his mother, drifted again -- as he had before -- in employment, and started doing some part-times volunteering at a local diocesan school. When he told me this, he implied that it was to discern whether they would accept him into a diocesan seminary instead of a trad seminary.  Then he stopped doing even that.

The men and women screening candidates and forming candidates after entrance know what they're doing.  Why would you challenge that and tell us instead that someone who merely enters seminary definitely has a vocation?  There are several steps:

1.  the candidate's self-assessment
2.  the assessment of ordained vocation directors and priests before approval for entrance
3.  the ongoing assessment of a candidate during the seminary, before ordination.  There are men who enter trad and diocesan orders who do not make it all the way through.  There are challenges, personal and external, throughout.  A man or woman might not know until considerably after entrance that regardless of what they thought the priesthood or religious life was about, it's really more about something else, and that 'something' does not appeal to them, they have not the stomach for it, etc.  Similarly, a superior can come to recognize later rather than earlier an inappropriate candidate. Or the candidate may change.  Or may be subject to a different superior, who sees more clearly.

These decisions are not taken lightly.  I know that actually in the case I spoke about, the first man was given much more time preparatory to the rejection, precisely because the director was trying to give him the full benefit of the doubt. With the second man, it was much more obvious that he did and still does (so far) have a vocation.
« Last Edit: January 05, 2021, 01:21:52 AM by Miriam_M »
 
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Offline Daniel

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Re: Anyone have experience with job interviews?
« Reply #61 on: January 05, 2021, 09:43:01 AM »
Your desire may not (even if it is good in itself for many) be the desire God wants you most to have.  God calls you, you don't call yourself.

I'm aware that we don't call ourselves, but my sources say that God calls everyone who has this desire. Which makes sense. The religious vocation is not like the priestly vocation, reserved only to a select elite, but is rather a general invitation that's open to everyone who wants it. All that matters is that the desire be genuine--a true desire for one's own sanctification through the religious state. Genuine desire is always accompanied by a vocation, and this vocation is always from God. It's as simple as that. If it weren't then we'd have a real epistemological problem on our hands, as it would be impossible for any man or woman to ever know whether or not he has a religious vocation (apart from the rare exception where God gives this knowledge immediately and explicitly, by way of dreams or visions).

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Consider the parents of St. Therese, themselves canonized  (albeit by the new church, but probably worthily):

[. . .]

If they had done as YOU are doing, they would have pursued their first desires further or lived as brother and sister, scorning the "inferior" advise of the priest. From all we can judge from the results, God was guiding them not only through their initial desires and intense thinking but also through critical priests and daily events with other people and human reactions.

But two things.

First, with regard to my situation, no priest or vocations director has ever told me not to pursue a vocation or that I don't have a vocation. (I really don't know any priests all that well, but I have mentioned my vocation in passing to a few of them and even to the vocations director of the SSPX seminary, and nobody outright tried to discourage me.)

Second, in the case of St. Thérèse's parents, it's quite possible that their priests were actually wrong. Priests are not God. Priests can be right, but they can also be wrong. Very rarely does God speak through the priest as He does through a prophet. (And while the priest's expert opinion obviously counts for something, he's certainly not infallible.) If St. Thérèse's parents could reasonably have been told something different by a different priest, then I'd say that what they actually were told doesn't really prove anything.

St. Thérèse's parents (thanks to God's grace) did manage to live holy lives in the married state, but this needn't be taken as evidence of lack of religious vocation, nor can it be taken as a guarantee that all persons who lose their religious vocation will have similar success.


Any man or woman whose virtue is undeveloped relative to the moment of his or her likely entrance into religious life is not ready to enter that life.  It requires enough motivation that a person called by God would already have been visibly growing in virtue -- especially the virtue of charity -- considerably prior. Typically, such a candidate has been receiving frequent spiritual direction, and that direction is also paying off.

My sources say otherwise. What you say is correct for the priestly state, but not for the religious state. The religious state is not a club for holy persons, but is firstly a means to holiness. Certain past sins can be an impediment to joining a religious community, and certain present vices can also be an impediment; but the mere fact that a person is not yet a saint is not an impediment.

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The men and women screening candidates and forming candidates after entrance know what they're doing.  Why would you challenge that and tell us instead that someone who merely enters seminary definitely has a vocation?

If I said that, I misspoke. I was speaking only of the religious state, not the priestly state. With regard to the priestly state, my sources say that nobody has a vocation until after going through seminary and receiving the call to ordination from the bishop. It is, of course, up to the seminary to decide who gets to enter the seminary.

Whether or not seminaries ever abuse their power during the admissions process, I don't know. I kind of suspect that they do though, since the SSPX seminary, for example, can (and likely does) discriminate against applicants who are critical of the Archbishop, while the FSSP seminary would (I'd think) reject any applicant who professes sedevacantism or who even so much as openly denounces Vatican II. But I suppose this is all beside the point, if God doesn't call men to the priesthood prior to their ordination anyway.
« Last Edit: January 05, 2021, 10:26:18 AM by Daniel »
 

Offline Miriam_M

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Re: Anyone have experience with job interviews?
« Reply #62 on: January 05, 2021, 01:52:03 PM »
My sources say otherwise. What you say is correct for the priestly state, but not for the religious state. The religious state is not a club for holy persons, but is firstly a means to holiness. Certain past sins can be an impediment to joining a religious community, and certain present vices can also be an impediment; but the mere fact that a person is not yet a saint is not an impediment.

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The men and women screening candidates and forming candidates after entrance know what they're doing.  Why would you challenge that and tell us instead that someone who merely enters seminary definitely has a vocation?

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If I said that, I misspoke. I was speaking only of the religious state, not the priestly state. With regard to the priestly state, my sources say that nobody has a vocation until after going through seminary and receiving the call to ordination from the bishop. It is, of course, up to the seminary to decide who gets to enter the seminary.

With regard to the 'call from the bishop,' that's a technicality.  The original call is not from any bishop, most likely.  The absolute call is from God alone, often mediated through others -- in any order:  priests whom the candidate knows well or well enough to serve as an immediate role model; parents, in some cases, directly or by prayer; other intercessors, through prayer or conversation -- teachers, friends, the Saints themselves.  Most ordinary lay people like you and me do not have relationships with bishops.  Our priests do; we do not unless we work in the chancery office.  Please.

I did not say or imply, and no one on this thread said or implied, that an already-holy person is the only adequate candidate for seminary.  If that were true, there would obviously be zero priests or religious, male or female.  That's not the point:  it's the observable impulse toward holiness, an impulse that is exhibited beyond just personal piety, by the way.  Plenty of lay people are very pious, but very, very few of those have vocations to religious life.  And stop making this such an artificial contest "between" the priesthood and religious life.  While they are different in form, they are similar in requirement: 

(1) evidence of a persistent, "tested" call from God prior to the seminary
(2) evidence of the same persistent, tested call during the full length of the seminary. 

The latter does not mean that there would be no obstacles during seminary (or candidacy to a religious order). Again, as I already said, training is rigorous and challenging for the most hearty and confident.  One has two or three simultaneous journeys occurring: 

(i) basic spiritual readiness for the later affirmed state.  That would not mean "attainment" of holiness, which is a lifelong effort, but it would definitely mean some initial formation. For example, candidates for religious life, male and female, are put through a kind of initial stripping of self and attachments.  There are all kinds of ways this is conducted, having to do with the candidate becoming more aware of his own vices and faults, so that he has sufficient humility upon ordination or vows to begin the serious phase of his vocation.  Why is this important?  Because he'll be a lousy minister if he's in the active life, and a lousy person of prayer if he's in the contemplative life and full of himself.  Again I repeat: contemplative life does not require less personal holiness (less desire for it, less essential qualities for engaging in that battle).  Contemplative life is incredibly challenging, psychologically and spiritually.  And a monk still does have a community; he will never be an island unto himself.  It's a permanent community life with the same challenges that one experiences in family life, etc.:  fallen mankind, with other people asserting their egos or displaying their annoying imperfections just like you and me.

(ii) basic intellectual capacity, if the calling is to the active priesthood:  instruction in doctrine, theology (especially moral and sacramental theology), sacraments, rubrics, and a fair amount of psychology thrown in so that the priest will know how to give spiritual direction, counsel members of his flock, etc.

(iii) physical capacity: sufficient bodily strength and health to sustain a physically demanding occupation.  For a priest or an active religious, that includes very long days and frequent nighttime interruptions for emergencies, with very little rest, vacation, or even retreats.  For a contemplative, you are getting up for every scheduled hour of the Office, so you have a great deal of interrupted sleep.  You're not just saying Lauds, Vespers, and Compline.  You also have a great deal of physical labor:  farm work, kitchen work, carpentry, all kinds of heavy-duty carrying.  Then you have long hours of private prayer in addition to what's required liturgically and by your Order.  These lifestyles are not for the faint of heart or easily discouraged.  The priesthood and religious life are challenging in different ways, Daniel.  One is not "easier" than the other.  Nor are they as supposedly different in their discernment and examination by superiors as you're imagining.

(iv) No external impediments, regarding intimate relationships outside the setting -- such as family, friends, previous romantic relationships, responsibilities of state in life such as a disabled family member needing the candidate's intervention.  No impediments such as mental/emotional conditions which would prevent the candidate from "keeping up" with his brothers or sisters because whatever the conditions are are disabling and/or frequent and/or untreated or untreatable.  I remember reading a couple of years ago on one such apostolate's website that anyone with "a mood disorder" would be disqualified.  I can understand why, since treatments for bipolarity or strict depression are imperfect, to say the least.

(v) spiritual readiness.  I never said end-stage perfection.  None of the Saints who founded or entered religious orders were perfect upon entrance. But readiness is observed by various signs, and one of those signs would be sincerity and some success in the regular, consistent attempt to become virtuous.  Someone who tries no more than your average lay person -- in other words, someone with little control over his passions -- is not a good candidate.  The reason, as I said earlier, is that one of the most essential qualities of a seminarian or religious candidate is discipline.  Someone with no interest in controlling his anger, pride, envy, etc., or with little developed ability in that direction, starts out his supposed "calling" on the wrong foot, because motivation and discipline are lacking. Superiors are perfectly within their rights to require evidence of motivation and discipline that is of a higher quality than the average layperson's. The second man I referred to earlier lacked an essential starting point of virtue in that he was especially weak in conquering his Sloth.

(vi) Continuing with the Capital vices, any candidate with a porn problem is also explicitly excluded these days as an appropriate candidate for religious life.  We all struggle with chastity, whatever our state in life, but a candidate already impaired in that very tempting area of the passions is not a suitable candidate.

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if God doesn't call men to the priesthood prior to their ordination anyway.

He most certainly does call them, or they wouldn't be entering any seminary or monastery.  You have your facts wrong because as usual, you are arguing from technicalities as to the canonical process rather than the spiritual, heavenly reality.
 

Offline Daniel

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Re: Anyone have experience with job interviews?
« Reply #63 on: January 05, 2021, 02:53:49 PM »
With regard to the 'call from the bishop,' that's a technicality.  The original call is not from any bishop, most likely.  The absolute call is from God alone, often mediated through others -- in any order:  priests whom the candidate knows well or well enough to serve as an immediate role model; parents, in some cases, directly or by prayer; other intercessors, through prayer or conversation -- teachers, friends, the Saints themselves.  Most ordinary lay people like you and me do not have relationships with bishops.  Our priests do; we do not unless we work in the chancery office.  Please.

[. . .]

He most certainly does call them, or they wouldn't be entering any seminary or monastery.  You have your facts wrong because as usual, you are arguing from technicalities as to the canonical process rather than the spiritual, heavenly reality.

I'm just going with my sources.

Here is what I was told by the SSPX seminary's vocations director (through private e-mail):
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Unfortunately, popular notions about vocation are terribly confused and inaccurate. No one has a vocation to the priesthood unless and until he is called by the Church at ordination. One may have the qualities, etc., but the decision to pursue the priesthood or not is up to the free choice of the individual. [. . .] (my emphasis)

So, 1.) nobody has a vocation prior to ordination, and 2.) any young man who so chooses is free to enter the seminary so long as the seminary accepts him (and the converse: he is also free not to enter if he so chooses, and God does not hold this against him). (And from these it follows that no young man who enters the seminary has a vocation at the time that he enters the seminary. Entry into the seminary is thus not a reaction to a call, but the call is dependent upon his entry into the seminary.)

At first I was skeptical since it seems to diminish God's role, but Geremia (in this post) agreed with the priest, and it now makes sense to me. The call is from God but it always coincides with a call from the bishop.


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And stop making this such an artificial contest "between" the priesthood and religious life.

I don't think the distinction is artificial or irrelevant; the priesthood and the religious state are two radically different things.

The priesthood is a calling given only to a select group of men. Its purpose is to serve the Church, by administering the sacraments, teaching the faithful, and governing them.

The religious state is a calling given to everyone (albeit not received by everyone). Its purpose is primarily the sanctification of the individual (though it does benefit the Church indirectly). Jesus (in Scripture) recommends the three evangelical counsels (poverty, celibacy, and obedience) to all who seek after Him, as a means of fulfilling the command to be perfect. The counsels are not technically commandments, so we are free to do otherwise and get married if we so choose. But, they are recommended to everybody. Everybody is called, and, in order to fulfill this call more easily through the observation of the three counsels, we voluntarily enter into the religious state.
« Last Edit: January 05, 2021, 03:02:13 PM by Daniel »
 

Offline andy

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Re: Anyone have experience with job interviews?
« Reply #64 on: January 05, 2021, 07:59:46 PM »

Let's do a deal, I will say five decades of Rosary in your intention and you will do the same in my. Are you in?

I'm sorry, but no. The Rosary makes no sense to me (for the same points that Iamchristian raised in his own thread, but I'm far worse off than him: I, at this time, am altogether unable to pray the Rosary without being moved to sins of anger and hatred). But I'll pray a single Hail Mary for you. Please pray for me.
edit - Never mind. Sure, I'll pray five decades for you (but I won't be able to do the meditations... I'm not able to meditate while praying vocal prayers)

Awesome. Thank you. I will complete my part tomorrow, it is five decades. By the way, I am just a regular layman, not a professional support nor (obviously) a religious person so what I write comes without a warranty. Hatred and anger are just feelings and as Catholics we should not pay too much attention to feelings.

Daniel, did you fulfill your part?
 
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Offline Daniel

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Re: Anyone have experience with job interviews?
« Reply #65 on: January 05, 2021, 08:43:09 PM »

Let's do a deal, I will say five decades of Rosary in your intention and you will do the same in my. Are you in?

I'm sorry, but no. The Rosary makes no sense to me (for the same points that Iamchristian raised in his own thread, but I'm far worse off than him: I, at this time, am altogether unable to pray the Rosary without being moved to sins of anger and hatred). But I'll pray a single Hail Mary for you. Please pray for me.
edit - Never mind. Sure, I'll pray five decades for you (but I won't be able to do the meditations... I'm not able to meditate while praying vocal prayers)

Awesome. Thank you. I will complete my part tomorrow, it is five decades. By the way, I am just a regular layman, not a professional support nor (obviously) a religious person so what I write comes without a warranty. Hatred and anger are just feelings and as Catholics we should not pay too much attention to feelings.

Daniel, did you fulfill your part?

Yes, thank you.
 

Offline Non Nobis

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Re: Anyone have experience with job interviews?
« Reply #66 on: January 05, 2021, 11:05:41 PM »
Your desire may not (even if it is good in itself for many) be the desire God wants you most to have.  God calls you, you don't call yourself.

I'm aware that we don't call ourselves, but my sources say that God calls everyone who has this desire. Which makes sense. The religious vocation is not like the priestly vocation, reserved only to a select elite, but is rather a general invitation that's open to everyone who wants it. All that matters is that the desire be genuine--a true desire for one's own sanctification through the religious state. Genuine desire is always accompanied by a vocation, and this vocation is always from God. It's as simple as that. If it weren't then we'd have a real epistemological problem on our hands, as it would be impossible for any man or woman to ever know whether or not he has a religious vocation (apart from the rare exception where God gives this knowledge immediately and explicitly, by way of dreams or visions).

So you think that feeling in yourself a strong desire for your own sanctification through the religious state can not possibly due to a mistake on your part regarding God's will for your life?  So God cannot possibly convey His will more clearly through priests or bishops or  showing you more of life?  I'm sure some have waited too long to seriously follow their religious desires, and I'm not encouraging that.   But although of course I don't KNOW about St. Therese's parents and their priest, a reasonable Catholic understanding is that God showed His will to them and their DESIRE for their own sanctification CHANGED to God's will that they glorify Him through marriage.

Maybe you want too much absolute certainty too fast Daniel.  You have to TRUST God to show you the special path for you to follow in the time He wants to, even if it is not by instantaneous desire.
[Matthew 8:26]  And Jesus saith to them: Why are you fearful, O ye of little faith? Then rising up he commanded the winds, and the sea, and there came a great calm.

[Job  38:1-5]  Then the Lord answered Job out of a whirlwind, and said: [2] Who is this that wrappeth up sentences in unskillful words? [3] Gird up thy loins like a man: I will ask thee, and answer thou me. [4] Where wast thou when I laid up the foundations of the earth? tell me if thou hast understanding. [5] Who hath laid the measures thereof, if thou knowest? or who hath stretched the line upon it?

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Offline james03

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Re: Anyone have experience with job interviews?
« Reply #67 on: January 06, 2021, 07:24:17 AM »
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Instead, he chooses to look for ways so that he can bleat out: "It's not my fault!".  That's all there is to it.  Don't continue to participate in his fantasy, you only make matters worse.
"But he that doth not believe, is already judged: because he believeth not in the name of the only begotten Son of God (Jn 3:18)."

"All sorrow leads to the foot of the Cross.  Weep for your sins."

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Offline Daniel

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Re: Anyone have experience with job interviews?
« Reply #68 on: January 06, 2021, 10:36:11 AM »
.
« Last Edit: January 06, 2021, 10:43:33 AM by Daniel »
 

Offline andy

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Re: Anyone have experience with job interviews?
« Reply #69 on: January 06, 2021, 12:21:09 PM »
Yes, thank you.

This is great. I hope that you will overcome that stupid anger/hate feelings when meditating Rosary. I battled with similar issues in the past, and asking God for the very very specific grace for a will to fight and win with those was the key. He responded really fast.

As far as the vocation goes, fr. Hesse in one of his talks says that the voice has to come from outside, e.g. a priest telling/asking you directly about that route in life.

Have you been rejected from a seminary before? Or your application sent back?
 

Offline Daniel

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Re: Anyone have experience with job interviews?
« Reply #70 on: January 06, 2021, 04:08:38 PM »
So you think that feeling in yourself a strong desire for your own sanctification through the religious state can not possibly due to a mistake on your part regarding God's will for your life?  So God cannot possibly convey His will more clearly through priests or bishops or  showing you more of life?  I'm sure some have waited too long to seriously follow their religious desires, and I'm not encouraging that.   But although of course I don't KNOW about St. Therese's parents and their priest, a reasonable Catholic understanding is that God showed His will to them and their DESIRE for their own sanctification CHANGED to God's will that they glorify Him through marriage.

Maybe you want too much absolute certainty too fast Daniel.  You have to TRUST God to show you the special path for you to follow in the time He wants to, even if it is not by instantaneous desire.

Are you suggesting that God shows us His will only through priests? I think this is where the disagreement lies. I say that God shows us His will not only through priests but through our experiences in general. Our experiences can include our interactions with priests, but our experiences are not limited to our interactions with priests. Further, while a priest's opinion is certainly worth something, Catholics have never just blindly followed the priests. This especially true in this day and age, when the wolves run rampant and even the well-intentioned priests can lead you astray.

But what I've learned over the years is that this very word "vocation" is the the source of a great deal of confusion. I used to think we had to wait for God to reveal our vocation to us. This is incorrect. God has already revealed our vocation to us: our vocation is nothing more than our own perfection in holiness ("Be you therefore perfect, as also your heavenly Father is perfect.") The religious state and the secular state are not "vocations"; they are merely the means by which we go about fulfilling this vocation. Whether we choose the religious state over the secular state, or vice versa, is a personal choice that we make after sufficient reflection on our past experiences. Sometimes an impediment will force us into one state rather than the other, but, if this doesn't happen, then it's ultimately up to us to figure out what's best.


As far as the vocation goes, fr. Hesse in one of his talks says that the voice has to come from outside, e.g. a priest telling/asking you directly about that route in life.

Have you been rejected from a seminary before? Or your application sent back?

Well one priest did sort of spontaneously ask me if I'm a seminarian, if that counts for anything. But no, I've never actually applied to the seminary before.
« Last Edit: January 06, 2021, 04:17:17 PM by Daniel »
 

Offline Miriam_M

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Re: Anyone have experience with job interviews?
« Reply #71 on: January 08, 2021, 02:21:56 PM »
Your desire may not (even if it is good in itself for many) be the desire God wants you most to have.  God calls you, you don't call yourself.

I'm aware that we don't call ourselves, but my sources say that God calls everyone who has this desire. Which makes sense. The religious vocation is not like the priestly vocation, reserved only to a select elite, but is rather a general invitation that's open to everyone who wants it. All that matters is that the desire be genuine--a true desire for one's own sanctification through the religious state. Genuine desire is always accompanied by a vocation, and this vocation is always from God. It's as simple as that.

No, it's not as simple as that because you admit that it's a three-way process:  (1) God, (2) the receptive individual, and -- (3) the instrument of God, the religious institution discerning from their end the appropriateness of the candidate.  Your "source" is not credible if your "source" is suggesting that knowing whether one has been called to religious life or the priesthood won't really know that until the moment of or after ordination. 

Religious bodies have a right not to waste their time and money. It's not a matter of just a ready heart wanting to serve God.  There are particular requirements for the job that are evident enough prior to beginning the seminary training, which is expensive and which often the candidate himself cannot afford -- thereby requiring donations from others and/or the resources of the institution itself.  They will not be throwing their money on an entire class of experiments for 7-10 years of seminary training or many years of religious formation. Either you misunderstood your "source," or your source has misled you into believing that "everyone" has a call if only he or she is willing.

Temperaments in a more particular sense than either the Four Temperaments or personality traits are an essential aspect of discernment.  Most people, including many people in the pre-formation discernment process, have a vague idea about what this kind of life entails, but few really understand the level of sacrifice involved.  A sacrifice that "goes against the grain" in a fundamental way -- such as a resistance to particular kinds of detachment, or detachment in general -- is a contraindication for religious life.  The vast majority of Catholics have attachments.  It's just the object of those attachments that differs from person to person.

I'm not talking about attachments to material things but attachments to:

independence
privacy
basic control over one's time, especially whatever is considered "not-on-the-job" time
sleep
friendships -- past, present, future
locations
family, and holidays celebrated with family
personal preferences/lifestyle choices of any kind (food, types of associates, climate, etc.)
stability of position/role
predictability
recreational opportunities

Poverty, chastity, and obedience, on the literal level of those, can sometimes be the relatively "easy" part, compared to the divestment of the kinds of freedoms that we do not realize we deem "essential" or certainly "expected."  Stripping of attachments is part of both poverty and obedience, depending on the category.

People imagine they can live without these and other attachments, but often they do not know themselves well enough -- from age or emotional maturity and self-awareness -- to consider what's ahead of them and whether they have "the right stuff." That's why older and wiser men and women are put in the position to judge the probable level of detachment of the inquirer, a detachment that is visible not just from the candidate's words and personal history but his or her recent choices, activity, lifestyle -- spiritually and earthly.  It is not merely a subjective discernment and people better respect the fact that God calls everyone; I know in some absolute way that I am called.  No, you don't.  It is not a matter of private judgment that overrides what a Vocations Director can judge himself or herself. No one on SD is in that position, but a VD is.

Is the candidate psychologically mature for his age?  One aspect of maturity is realism and being down-to-earth, not an idealist who expects others to simply trust his or her impulses.

Is the candidate spiritually mature for his/her age and for the perseverance that will be essential for the long haul in religious life? I explained in other posts the signs of that spiritual maturity, which are judged not by the candidate but by others, before entrance. Spiritual maturity does not refer to perfection or advanced virtue: all of that comes with proper formation and response to formation.  It refers to (a) awareness of what's involved in the spiritual journey; (b) awareness of what's involved in religious life; (c) signs today that the candidate has been and still is, consistently, working on that spiritual journey in a way qualitatively different from pious laypeople; the candidate is singularly and wholeheartedly focused on this on his own initiative.  All later successful candidates I have known have shown these observable predispositions which set them apart.  And that is only one part of the discernment.

The religious vocation/lifestyle is basically missionary.  You go where you are sent, when others want you there, regardless of whether or not you think yourself ready, do not like the assignment, will not like the assignment, believe you are suited to the assignment, will find it an enormous Cross for any reason (physical discomfort, people unlike you in background, a role you've never done or dislike, isolation from everything you love, etc.).  Your source is wrong:  Not everybody has equal capacity to accept this lifelong missionary role.  It requires:

observable maturity, now, not just later
exceptional motivation not common to the entire human race
ability to sacrifice, observable now
unusual ability to discipline oneself, with evidence of that (e.g., the difference between the two male candidates I described earlier)
awareness of the level of detachment required lifelong, with evidence of ability to detach now
no major vice that is so crippling right now that one would be beginning the process behind other candidates; an example in my earlier comparison was the persistent Sloth of one vs the persistent spiritual diligence of the other; I know the latter person's faults, by the way, and I know he will have to work on those in seminary, but clearly he has the motivation and discipline the other lacks.

And one could have all of the above but simply not the role of missionary -- in which case, the candidate is unsuitable for religious life, no matter how personally holy.

God works with what we have and loves us all infinitely but knows that we are more suited to certain roles than others. There are parallels in secondary vocations as well.  Someone drawn to a life of secular service will not be equally good as a teacher, nurse, doctor, or social worker.  The roles and capacities are different.  A person who loves to work out of doors will not be equally good as a forest ranger and a landscape gardener: different roles and capacities.

Because God calls each of us to total love of Him does not mean that anyone or everyone has the capacity for religious life.  The Church does not believe that; religious orders do not believe that. It is completely possible, however, for each of us to love God as completely in non-religious life as we would if we were to have a true religious vocation.
 
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Offline Daniel

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Re: Anyone have experience with job interviews?
« Reply #72 on: January 09, 2021, 12:53:48 AM »
Miriam_M - I believe you're misunderstanding what I'm saying. I never said that seminaries and religious communities have an obligation to accept everybody who applies. I also never said that the applicant's personal judgement overrides (or ought to override) the decision of a vocations director. And I never said that every willing person has the capacity to be a religious. (I do, however, say that many willing persons have the capacity.)

Your "source" is not credible if your "source" is suggesting that knowing whether one has been called to religious life or the priesthood won't really know that until the moment of or after ordination. 

[. . .]

Either you misunderstood your "source," or your source has misled you into believing that "everyone" has a call if only he or she is willing.

To clarify, I've gotten my information from two separate sources (which may or may not be in complete agreement with each other):

(1) The information concerning the priestly state (seems to be applicable only the priestly state, not to the religious state) comes from the vocations director of the American SSPX seminary. I repeat, he's the vocations director from the SSPX seminary. Seems to be a credible source. Now if I'm misunderstanding him (which is quite possible), then I say that it's only a slight misunderstanding: if you re-read the correspondence that I quoted earlier (in this post), you'll see that he clearly and explicitly says that nobody has a (priestly) vocation until ordination. (And no, I'm not pulling his words out of context.) I'm also pretty sure that he's not the only one making this claim; my memory is a little fuzzy but I believe that other SSPX priests have told me basically the same thing years ago, before I ever contacted the seminary.

(2) My information concerning the religious state (not the priestly state) comes from a book I read about a year ago, called Religious Vocation: An Unnecessary Mystery by Fr. Richard Butler, O.P. No idea whether this is a credible source or not, but the author is a religious priest and seems to be saying something that actually makes sense. Again, there very well might be some misunderstanding on my part, but it would likely only be a slight misunderstanding as I do remember the gist of the book. He explains the difference between the priestly vocation and the religious vocation (the same distinction I've been making); he explains what the religious state is (viz. the three vows) and why it exists (viz. as a means to become perfect in holiness); and I am pretty sure he also says that most people have a religious vocation, that this vocation usually isn't something perceivable (so there's no point waiting around for some sort of audible call or insight), and that if you aren't sure whether you have a religious vocation (but you are willing to live under the three vows) then your default course of action should not be to just give up and get married but should be to try the religious life.

Anyway, I'm sorry for being argumentative but this is the only theory that I've come across that makes any sort of sense. Everything else either has huge epistemological holes in it (thereby making it impossible to ever know whether or not you have a vocation) or else takes the priest to be some sort of a magic oracle (capable of telling you that which God alone knows). So until I come across a better theory this is pretty much all I've got to work with.

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No one on SD is in that position, but a VD is.

Ok, but the impression I've gotten is that you (and others on SD) are asserting that I don't have a vocation, and have been trying to talk me out of even thinking about it. Perhaps I've gotten the wrong impression?