1) Yes people were forced into certain vocations in the Church, and perhaps that was wrong, but part of my point is that it's not unheard of to "make it work," so to speak.
No, it's not. But I wouldnt encourage that model, in general, as healthy for the individual nor the Church.
These days people go back and forth for years wondering if it will make them "happy" or "fulfilled," where the saints of yesteryear would seem to have been inclined to say "shut up and do it already!"
At the same time, St. Theresa of Avila said "A sad saint is a sad saint indeed"...meaning a sad saint is a sad sort of saint.
Looking for "happiness" should not be the determination of a vocation, but Joy and Peace and Fullfillment are in some sense. Especially at the beginning. There will be dark nights and such later on...but if you arent enthusiastic about it at leats as a postulant or novice...it is probably not for you.
I think it was Blessed Mary McKillop who said something like, "Novices come, and novices go. And mainly they go. And thank God for that."
Here is the idea that God will lead you to holiness no matter what your station in life, as opposed to the idea that God wills a place for you, and you spend all this time "discerning" what that is.
People around here dont like it when I've said it...but a lot of people are not "discerning" endlessly merely because of indecisiveness. While commitment and perseverence are virtues...so is not being rash. Simply having an "I've picked something, and I'm sticking to it, and that's that" attitude...can have it's own sort of stubborn pride under the surface. And God will make that clear soon enough.
Many people discern for a long time because they genuinely cant find a place that feels right. Because they are genuinely disillusioned with what they find in these places. And I dont meant the liberal atmosphere anymore. I mean among conservatives and traditionalists even.
There can be an institutionalizing atmosphere that maybe was acceptable to people in a communitarian or collectivist culture like the Middle Ages...and such cultures are probably as a whole better spiritually. BUT...modern westerners are Individualistic individuals, for better or worse. And a lot of the priesthood and religious life especially is still based on a world where people had a lot less...personality, honestly. And so there can be a suffocating homogeneity or lack of sponteneity among men and women who, and I know some people here dont like the suggestion...are maladjusted and awkward. I mean...have you ever seen or read Cadfael? There can be a...naive and honestly creepy bee-hive zombie dynamic in many communities and seminaries.
In conclusion, I might be suggesting this: Pick your battle. Trust in Providence. Become a saint. It's a patented 3-stage process.
But you have to pick your battle carefully based on where God wants you. Vocation is mysterious, but it is very real. God has certain gifts for certain people and they are meant to use them. Not to be somewhere manifestly unsuited to the particular gifts He has given them. And it isnt supposed to be some prison either. Challenging, yes, but not torture.
Yeah, but I don't think you're ever ultimately "not free." Anyone who's miserable is certainly free to go, even against their parent's wishes. But the point is that they toughed it out and now they're saints. Cha-ching.
Many of the Saints were founder of their own new Orders or congregations. I think that tells us sonmething about there not necessarily being a suitable or satisfying place for everyone already made. Many Saints have been so fed up with what they found, they made their own. Was this pride or self-will?
Actually we're not free to go from vocations such as the Priesthood, Matrimony or after one takes his permanent vows in the religious life. If they leave, they will loose their souls unless we get the grace to repent and come back.
Except there are legitimate channels for laicization, dispensation from vows, and even seperation from a spouse (though you have to remain celibate).
People should take these things seriously and not leave lightly, but it is unhealthy to have this absolutist mentality. Again, these lives are supposed to be free gifts, and the vows a generous giving of self. Not some trap or prison or contract in blood for their souls. But we discussed this on that other thread...
While the Diocese has funds, they've also got modernism.
Indeed, that's a problem I face.
I'd love to do something around where I live and grew up. The missionary charism is a gift given to some, but I think a lot of people are called to minister to that which they know. A "charity starts at home" sort of idea. There is something to be said for "opening horizons" and forcing people out of their "comfort zone" by dealing with other types of people...but there is also something to be said for a priest to be ministering to people he can understand and who understand him in terms of their whole life experience. To have a local "insider" as a priest who is really part of the community, not some "outsider" bureaucrat assigned impersonally from the central HQ. And our local diocesan seminary seems to have a great atmosphere interpersonally. Only problem...its very neocon and totally Novus Ordo. And I'm not.
But, honestly, the trad seminaries creep the hell out of me. I just...cant deal with some of those weirdos. So it's like...there's no place for me, I feel like. 100 years ago...no problem. I'd join the Jesuits or Dominicans and I wouldnt have to worry about a "trad vs non-trad" divide. But it exists, and Im on the side that got the short end of the stick...
To repeat what the Holy Father once said, the Church needs some great saints to reignite the sense of excitement and imagination of young people to follow Christ.
Indeed. Sadly, I've found nothing but a total lack of imagination, energy, or enthusiasm in a lot of places. Instead there has been a mundane underwhelmingness that is really impossible for any normal person to bear.
It is no coincidence that the growing orders are the ones that have been able to do this.
I'm not sure that's necessarily true. Some are, some arent. Orders grow for different reasons, and not necessarily good reasons. For example, and order that attracts maladjusted people has a GREAT pool to draw from. There's tons of those people these days. But sheer numerical increase isnt necessarily a virtue. We want quality too.
I think of the SSPX and the charismatic Archbishop Levebvre.
Lefebvre himself certainly had his own type of charisma.
The SSPX in general though...? I've heard weird stories about their inter-institutional politics and internal seminary dynamics, and it all sorta sounds kinda facist and creepy to me.