How Would You Advise...? Part II
I have four illustrations with four essential questions that should be asked for each illustration. This is illustration 2.
An eighteen-year-old boy believes that his vocation is to the Priesthood. He prays about it and finally the Bishop agrees that this is the vocation that God has called the boy to. The Bishop decided to send him to one of the 10 top-ranking Catholic Colleges. The church will pay apart of his education, but the boys parents will have to pay the other part. His parents, (who are not Catholic), fail to comprehend the importance of either becoming a Priest, or having a Catholic Education. They threaten to withhold all college funds unless he attends a near by university. Their counsel to him is that if he learns another profession first, he can always have something to fall back on if he fails in becoming a priest. The son's points are that he doesn't plan on failing in becoming a priest. and that he needs the training.
1st Essential Question: Did They Have Mature Attitudes?
The father of the eighteen-year-old boy who planned to become a priest detected in his son attitudes of ungratefulness, stubbornness and insensitivity to the feelings of others that the Bishop had not seen because he had not been around the boy on a daily basis. Even though the father was not a Catholic, he realized that these attitudes would cause his son to fail as a priest. The very fact that his father had apprehensions of his failures as a priest should have been a significant indication to the son. A proper response to his father's counsel would have been an essential step in developing these qualities.
2nd Essential Question: Did They Discern Basic Intentions?
The basic intentions of the father who wanted his son to go to the local university were not to "talk him out of becoming a priest" but to provide him with tools for being successful in life. He intended to use the boy's college education to build mature attitudes in his son. He wanted to be proud of his son's achievements. He intended to rest in the fact that his son was building security in his vocation. He intended that his son be grateful and appreciative for what he had done for him. He intended to keep a channel of communication open so that his son would be responsive to future advice.
3rd Essential Question:
Did they Design Creative Alternatives?
Alternatives For The Fellow Who Wanted To Go Into The Priesthood Were:
- Accept the challenge of motivating new spiritual interest within his father. This is the best preparation he could have for the priesthood since this is one of the most important functions of the Priesthood besides saying the mass.
- Work out with his father and his Bishop areas of training at the university which would be useful both in studying for the priesthood and in studying for another vocation.
- Develop a personal program of study in scripture and theology as well as developing contacts with spiritual catholic students at the university which would provide further training for becoming a priest.
4th Essential Question:
Did They Give God Time to Work In Changing Decisions?
When the eighteen-year-old boy followed the directives of his father and attended the university, he not only developed training which was extremely helpful in later years as a priest but also found his father taking an active part in spiritual pursuits as well as encouraging him to go into the Priesthood.
I understand that this illustration is of a perfect world. So remember each situation will be a bit different, but the questions that should be asked would still apply. The key to all of this that when you have a difficult situation like this it is so very important for prayers and fasting, asking for Gods direction and His will in the matter.