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Thepeug Offline OP
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Dear friends,

I apologize if this question has been asked before, but I'm wondering: do you think that the experience of a serious, intimate (not necessarily sexual) relationship is necessary before considering a celibate vocation?

This particular questions is perplexing. I've talked to several solid, holy, very orthodox priests, all of whom give different answers. What do you think? Must one "test out" dating to see if he is called to marriage, in the same way that one undergoes a postulancy in religious life? Thanks for the help!

God bless,

Chris

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Chris - I know well one young RC Priest who never 'dated' before going to Seminary - he had no doubt where his vocation lay - from a very young age.

While at Uni in the UK waiting to go to Rome, he was a member of a group of young people who went out together as a group .

Dunno if that will help

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How far does one take these "experiences"? Does one need to experience marriage before renouncing it? How about children? What of death? I don't think that it is a logical method.

I do agree that relationships should be built and they may push one toward or away from ordination, but this can be the voice God, as He speaks through our friends and family.

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why would you even think that?
by process of elimination to make a choice?
Eastern rites allow marriage. ( a strong point for me wanting to switch to Byzantine Rite, if I should have children and one of them would be interested in a religious vocation, I would want them to be able to have the choice of both Sacraments.

also, for some unknown reason the "marriage" role of Mary and Joseph isn't emphasized enough, and they were/are very holy and yet I wonder if that might have something to do with your question at hand.

Dandelion

Last edited by Dandelion; 01/21/08 11:54 AM.
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Such expierence wouldn't be needed for someone who has a mature sense of himself, but he should be careful in whichever vocation he considers and chooses. Not all young men who are pursuing a religious vocation would have a very mature sense of themselves. Whether or not they need to "date" should be an issue they work out with their spiritual counselor. Good and bad could come out of it, but one must not need physical expierence in a thing to understand it.

Terry

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When I went to marriage preparation classes with my fiancee, there was no question in her mind but that we would go to a married priest (she didn't want to hear anything from a celibate priest on that score!).

The best preparation with respect to the married state is living with a spouse, not dating. Dating has nothing whatever to do with marriage and, in fact, can really skew one's view of what a real relationship between a man and a woman is all about.

My wife notwithstanding, celibate priests can and do have valid things to say to married people, since celibate priests are themselves "married" to the Church and monastics are married to Christ in a special way.

As has been said, it falls to most people to believe in God, but it falls to (clergy and monastics) to love Him and live in intimate communion with Him.

Without sobriety, there can be no Christian marriage.

Alex


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A prerequisite?

Of course not.

If you have had a serious relationship before, it can help you discern your vocation.

The example of the saints tells us that success in celibate ministry starts wherever you are, and your decision to live the Gospel literally, starting today.

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The Angelic Vocation (chastity and celibacy) requires that one carefully guard all the senses to maintain purity of heart and avoid sin.

To go out on a date implies that one is open to marriage, doesn't it? Is dating without the possibly of marriage consider to be deceitful?

Yes, I know some people who just dated because they wanted to go to an event and had no romantic interests, but even then they eventually fell in love and married.

There is even purity within marriage where the couple strives to live in purity of heart and truly pray together in unceasing prayer. This is possible, but I think relatively attained today.

However, dating and serious relationships with people of the opposite sex (or whatever) can cause problems with the imagination later on. As it is, most postulants and novices really struggle in this area to acquire purity of heart, especially if they have had many dating experiences, which can lead to more temptations.

Sure, widows and widowers have become monastics and saints, but there again, the person must struggle with memories of the past.

Even reading romance novels or watching sitcoms or PG movies can stimulate the imagination. However reading certain questionable novels is part of an education in English literature or especially Spanish literature. That is why I did not major in Spanish. The novels and short stories I was required to read in the Spanish major were simply awful.


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A religious vocation means that Christ calls you. You feel this. It is a deep longing for God.

In Orthodoxy a person with religious vocation could choose to live as monk or become priest or deacon, married. Most of the priests I know have wonderful families and are very dedicated in Church.

Dating means that there is also another person, with emotions, feelings, do not let her to have false expectations or so, if you (a general you, not specific person) are not decided. Respect.

Choose a way and go on it. It is blessed in the same measure. Most of all, choose Christ. However, we must have religious vocation.

And if one is called to marriage, it cannot be tested by dating. Above all, a person must be responsible, look with discernment around.

Pray to God. God's will will appear in your consciousness.

Think how you can be fruitful. What kind of person you are, what temperament etc.

General thoughts.

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wanted to edit, but button is missing,
if I should have children and one of them would be interested in a religious vocation, I would want them to be able to have the option to receive both Sacraments, and not have to choose or have no choice at all.

and I agree counseling with an advisor about it.

Dandelion

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Thepeug Offline OP
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Originally Posted by Orthodox Catholic
The best preparation with respect to the married state is living with a spouse, not dating.

Without sobriety, there can be no Christian marriage.

Thank you all for your thoughts and input! Very helpful and enlightening. Alex: perhaps I'm misreading your first statement, but are you suggesting that one should live with his prospective wife before marriage as preparation for married life? I thought cohabitation was generally discouraged as one of the fastest ways to unravel a marriage, especially a new one.

I totally agree with your second statement. You echo the sentiments expressed in Fr. Maximos' "Celibacy in Context": http://www.firstthings.com/article.php3?id_article=2107

God bless,

Chris

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Replace dating with: honest Christ-centered friendships with women and I would say these will help you discern your vocation.

Fr. Deacon Lance


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Dear Thepeug,

I'm advocating living with one's spouse after the Crowning Ceremony.

Living together before marriage isn't any sort of preparation for marriage either.

If something goes wrong, even terribly wrong, rather than working to fix it, the two parties can easily back out and leave etc.

And this apart from the immorality of living together, of course!

The tried and true tradition of the Orthodox Church (which should be followed completely and everywhere by the EC's) is that priests working in parishes should optimally be married while unmarried priests should be monastics (who could also work in parishes too!).

The priest needs the support of either a wife and family or else the extended family of a monastic community.

Or so my grandmother said.

Alex

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Thepeug Offline OP
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Fr. Deacon Lance,

Thank you for the sage advice. I definitely think there's a great difference between honest friendships and dating as a means of "testing" one's call (without being forthcoming about vocational stirrings).

Alex,

Ah, thanks for the clarification. I was nearly scandalized!

P.S. Your grandmother is very wise.

God bless,

Chris

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I wanted to edit likewise, but the time limit has expired.

I have double vision and cataracts, so please forgive my errors.

Quote
Yes, I know some people who just dated because they wanted to go to an event and had no romantic interests, but even then they eventually fell in love and married.

There is even purity within marriage where the couple strives to live in purity of heart and truly pray together in unceasing prayer. This is possible, but I think relatively attained today.

The last part should read: This is possible, but I think it is not attained today, especially when people use birth control. How can a married couple pray unceasingly and be open to the Giver of Life, when one is making war against new life?


Last edited by Elizabeth Maria; 01/24/08 06:02 PM.

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