Dear Fr Anthony,
I am 19 and in the seminary for my diocese. Right now I am pretty solid in the fact that I must devote my life to the service of God, in a consecrated way of life. I have been feeling a pull on my heart to seek God in silence and solitude. I really haven’t gotten the chance to really pursue it in the seminary because of all our activities and outreaches. I have found a religous order of Carmelite Hermits that I would like to visit. I really am sort of confused right now on what to do. But what I do know is that I must follow the Lord wherever he leads me, but sometimes I don’t know if I am listening correctly. Fr. Bannon any advice you could give would be great.
All for Jesus, all through Mary, all in imitation of you, O Holy Joseph. This shall be my motto in life and in death. AMEN.
I think your words sum up the problem well, “I dont know if I am listening correctly”. Very wise words that point to a fundamental dilemma in the spiritual life, and a good sign that you are really trying to seek God’s will and not your own.
Chris, this is why we have spiritual directors, and it is a matter that you should take up with yours right away. Sometimes we have the idea that a spiritual director is someone we meet with only a couple of times a year; but when faced with a situation like you are now, it is essential and very prudent to speak with him much more frequently. He will help you find ways to deepen your spiritual life right now in the seminary. He will help you reflect through and examine the signs you are reading as indications you are called to the contemplative life. He will also be able to give you direction as regards helpful spiritual reading to do, and he will let you know if and when he thinks it is prudent for you to visit the order you are interested in.
Since your conversations with your spiritual director are confidential, and your bishop is probably placing hopes in each and every one of his seminarians as he looks down the road to the future of the diocese, I think it would be proper to let him know if your spiritual director thinks there may be substance to your inclination to the contemplative life.