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Karl’s Interview, Part IV: On Vocations

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Written by Basil on 10/3/2003 9:26 PM. Filed under:

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4) Do you think that God is calling you to the priesthood? Tonsured monastic life?
Yes. Maybe.

A vocation to the priesthood is always composed of two sides: the subjective and the objective. The candidate senses the call somehow internally, and the Church manifests the call externally. There is no set way this happens: sometimes the candidate desperately wants to be a priest, but the Church does not recognize it. Because the body is one, this no is always definitive: the Holy Spirit does not speak to individuals alone. At other times, it is the opposite: the Church manifests the call, but the candidate does not hear it. At times in the past, the candidate has been dragged against his will to be ordained — for example, St. John Chrysostom. However, there is not one “valid” way that the vocation to the priesthood is manifested. Every priest’s call will be shown and tested in a way that is true in a unique and personal way for him.

Every candidate absolutely must realize that all subjective manifestations of a call could be nothing more than and nothing less than spiritual delusion — prelest. Only the call manifested by the people of God is definitive.

I will be happy if I finish the race as a janitor; yes, even a janitor’s assitant. I hope never to be the cause of sorrow in the Church, as are so many vainglorious men who have sought the priesthood for their own glory and against the needs of the Church. Moreover, since I myself am not immune from this sin, I hope ever to remain in subjection to those with authority over me in this, as in every matter.

As far as monastic tonsure, I don’t know yet. I have deep reservations about asking any woman to marry half a man. Though my own priest and his wife show me what a good priestly marriage can look like, I still feel that perhaps I am being called to “serve the Lord without distraction.” (1Co 7.32-35)

On the other hand, “if they cannot exercise self-control, let them marry. For it is better to marry than to burn with passion.” (1Co 7.9)

Future questions to be answered:
5) You attend a small Orthodox parish. What are some of the strengths and weaknesses of your parish?

Official Rules

  1. If you want to participate, leave a comment below saying “interview me.”
  2. I will respond by asking you five questions–each person’s will be different.
  3. You will update your journal/blog with the answers to the questions.
  4. You will include this explanation and an offer to interview others in the same post.
  5. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions.
  6. I will answer reasonable follow up questions if you leave a comment.
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