The Key is Loving Christ

The way to master your heart and the drive to love in our life, is to choose whom you are going to love and put all our energies into loving that person.
by Fr. Anthony Bannon, LC | Source:
Q. Dear Fr. Anthony,

I have been thinking about the priesthood for a while now, ever since the sixth grade. Lately, the way things are going is a bit confusing right now, and I think my vocation is getting a bit dimmer as the confusion gets worse. My problem is this: I want to be a priest and everything in my life has led me to the point where the priesthood is the place for me, yet I am easily attracted and stay attracted to girls. I was wondering if this was common or something which could be hinting to me NOT being called to the priesthood? Any help, advice and the like would be most appreciated.

In Christ,

-Jo

A. Dear Jo,

I see nothing more normal than an attraction to girls in a young man. Even though God gave us this for a very good reason and it is part of his plan, it is nevertheless a drive that has to be mastered, whether you are called to the priesthood or the married life. What I mean is this: it is part of Gods original plan, but we have a fallen nature and it is not easy to follow Gods will in this regards. We have to master our imagination, instincts, desires so as to be faithful to what God wants. The way to master your heart and the drive to love in our life, is to choose whom you are going to love and put all our energies into loving that person.

This might sound strange, to choose whom you are going to love. Yes, attraction happens, but we decide to love. Love costs. A man who marries tells his bride he will love her for richer or poorer, for better or worse. In essence he says, even though someone more attractive might cross my path I am only for you; even though everything does not work out like a dream I will be faithful to you; count on me.

The secret to the heart of a priest, and the reason he can choose celibacy is because he chooses to love Christ, love the Church, love souls, in a very particular way, with absolute dedication. And because he has made this love-choice even if someone attractive comes along, even if things do not work out like a dream, he too is faithful. He knows what he has done, and he reaffirms the choice to love Christ when difficulties arise, and even when they dont.

So I think your attraction is normal. What remains now if you are called to the priesthood is to set your heart to love Christ and center your mind to know him and do his work. Increase your love in prayer. Strengthen your spirit so you can be master of your choices and actions. Dont expect attractions to go away, but pay more attention to what you have chosen.

God bless.

-Fr. Anthony


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