I was reading the above-linked article in America magazine this morning regarding Catholic priests who leave the Church for another denomination, primarily because of the celibacy issue.
This got me thinking of my own vocation as a husband and father and "all-around Church guy" I guess you'd call the rest. In the past 5 or so years I have gotten involved in the Cub Scouts with my boys, the Secular Franciscan Order, Knights of Columbus, Ancient Order of Hibernians, and various ministries at my parish. In the back of my mind lurks the possibility of becoming an ordained deacon in the future. None of it feels like "enough", however. Please don't misunderstand; all of these activities and ministries have been thus far very rewarding. I love and am honored to work with fantastic, faith-filled, and in some cases mystical people.
I remember as a boy waiting anxiously to go to Mass. I admired the priest and what was going on up on the altar. I didn't fully understand the Mystery (and I still don't, really...I do get brief awesome flashes, almost like a deja vu. But I digress) but I knew I wanted to do what the priest was doing. It made my parents uncomfortable for some reason which I didn't get. Other kids wanted to be cops, firemen, doctors, nurses, etc. I remember when I was in 2nd grade, we were asked to draw a picture of who we wanted to be when we grew up. I drew a picture of me as a priest, holding up the Cup and the Host for consecration. I was the only kid I knew of who looked forward to CCD classes and actually was ostracized for it (beat up once for it as well) I didn't care...I loved my faith and wanted to grow up to be a priest. Then adolescence came along. Although I had been told much earlier in life that I wouldn't be able to be a priest and a father (how's THAT for irony?), I didn't understand or care about that until I was immersed in the swamp of puberty, awash in hormones and fantasies. I reluctantly gave up the idea of becoming a priest.
However, the fascination and...longing(?) has never fully died in me. Over the years, even the years I was not actively attending Mass, I still "saw myself as a priest" (I can't explain it any further than that). You can imagine how it mushroomed when I began practicing as a Catholic in earnest again. In the midst of my happy marriage with 2 great kids, my ministries with my parish, the Franciscans, Knights and Hibernians, there is still a hole, a longing, a yearning to serve as a priest. Yet, by virtue of my marriage, Church discipline states I can't become a priest.
I am forced to ask this question...why won't God stop talking to me about it, then??? Perhaps it's my ego, my pride, perhaps I'm not hearing it right, I don't know. I'm not considering leaving the Catholic Church - I just realized referncing the above article may have given that impression; I AM home in the Roman Catholic Church.
Today, however this particular instance of Church teaching is something I am struggling with. God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change...y'all know the rest.
Daily Mass Readings
Feast of the Guardian Angels