Adult vocations to the priesthood

— Letters from the readers of’Island of Patmos -



[…] in my priestly life I always ended up making all that I wouldn't do, thing I thank God. This has also taught me to distrust, and so very deep, of all those people and all those priests to whom Christ, always and rigor, asks only what they want, some of them have even godless effrontery to brag by saying in public: "Jesus said ... Jesus asked me ...». Not to mention certain laymen, in particular of certain charismatic and the neocatechumenals, they have instead a holy spirit to its staff saying service and suggesting their – often against the doctrine and discipline of the Church's liturgical and canonical – what they want to hear and suggest.



Author Father Ariel
Ariel S. Levi Gualdo

Caro Father.

I'm a Dominican tertiary, and if you don't mind me asking I would like to ask you: Why not become a priest in the order of Friars preachers? If the question is indiscreet and erase everything and do not answer me. Heartfelt wishes for the island of Patmos.

Andrea of Bernardo

Dear Andrea.

Dominican novice
A novice as the habit of the order of preachers at the headquarters of the Italian national Dominican provinces in Naples

As I'm sure you will understand this is not the place to make my vocation story, also because the speech is complex. Numerous people, priests including, They asked me to write a book about the history of my vocation, but for now I always desisted. Maybe someday I'll do it in old age, at the bottom there is a public thing vocation, considering that it takes itself as more public can exist: the exercise of the sacred Ministry of priests.

I didn't choose the order of Friars Preachers or other orders because adult vocations: or make radical choices entering cloistered orders of strict observance, Trappist Monks or type, or one of those very few monasteries that despite the fatal decline that struck this praiseworthy family retain a certain rigor. The experience teaches me that adults usually enter the contemplative orders or the secular clergy, Why can hardly be formed for religious life, unless special.

Given that the seminar – cleverly set up by the Council of Trent – don't fit the dogmas of the Catholic faith, My Bishop, as in the past have made many other bishops in the exercise of their legitimate authority, settled for me, I had made 40 year old, a more suitable ITER formative: in Rome was entrusted to a priestly house, living where I did the theological education, on the other hand, the training for the priesthood under the guidance of trainers selected by Bishop. It was a very valuable experience, because I got to live in contact with 30/35 priests in age between 32 and the 45 years from all continents of the world, first gaining a universal vision of the Catholic Church and not a limited view to the gardens around the Bell Tower of the village, Since one of the major tragedies that devastates the secular clergy is the provincialism.

I think I have made the right choice, or as I said wishful Trappist monk: "You are made for Fireworks, not for the silence of the cloister. In you is the innate sense of prayer, meditation and contemplation, but as support for fireworks will have to shoot». Thesis confirmed recently by a brother priest, also take the adult priesthood, already psychiatrist and today monaco, who wrote me sympathetic vein: "You were born to do Hunter, I was born to do veterinarian». Joke before which, my young brother priest replied: "You're not only limits to tear, because once you do it you're hopping around festive shreds, happy to have done a good service to the Church ".

In that House International priestly There was with me another Italian was ordained a deacon and then presbyter of the secular clergy a few months away from me, at the age of 43 year old, Today missionary priest in an indigenous area of Panama. One day, talking between us, We discovered that we both had considered a radical choice: “out of this world"And"lock"in a Trappist monastery, but he too, so different but similar, was told: "you have the missionary spirit in the heart».

The formation of a religious, After entering the postulancy at ordination should not in my opinion – and a last time in certain orders lasted not less than 10/12 year old. When in the post-Vatican II certain religious families reduced to training 5/6 year old, deleterious results in next time you are seen all. For instance: a few years ago, leading a group of families in Assisi, I had to translate and explain what it meant to the Latin inscription above the Porziuncola, which was nothing else than the designation of private indulgence to those who, repented and confessed, they had crossed that threshold. In the basilica there were in fact four apathetic and fats fratacchioni Mexicans who had not been able to answer this question to them potty people, sign that … et invenit in templo vendentes oves et boves et columbas, et nummularios sedentes ["and entering in the temple (Jesus) He found people who sold oxen, sheep and doves, and the money changers seated at school». GV. 22,42]; and we also know how the Lord Jesus was angry before the painful scene [cf. GV. 2,13-25].

What I reproach to some religious families and certain orders historians is this: yesterday, the best vocations, If they took their, because by them coming people read and especially equipped for studies; with them were their natural core the best speculative minds. In many historical Orders entered even the sons of aristocratic families or of the richest families, so much so that the "luck" of certain monastic congregations also stems from certain vocations through which convents and monasteries acquired substantial assets then to the death of parents of some monks and Friars, which could open many homes around the world. Just think of the intense and productive missionary activity carried out by Dominican friars in the 16th century. And over time as different areas were evangelized by the Dominicans and the Jesuits evangelized, considering that in those evangelized by the Jesuits developed all below, from liberation theology to priests-guerrillas, from the syncretism indigenist theology. For charity, the Dominicans have grown in their breasts one among the worst heretics in the post-Council, Edward Schillebeeckx, I do not know, however, that we have exalted as the theologian of theologians or as the new Thomas Aquinas, as did the Jesuits at the level “institutional” with a subject much more dangerous: Karl Rahner.

Today, some historical Orders, declined to accept those that we hit off seminars and almost always serious moral reasons; and simply said that it takes, to be tossed out by a seminar now! What several of these religious families – Benedictine and Cistercian monks in the lead – remains, is the ancient "smell under her nose”, unless you have many of their abbeys, however, full of "Misses"and"disturbed "at various levels. Don't forget that "boni them Benedictine monks ”, Thanks to “Mirabile” the work of the last two Arciabati of Montecassino, have led to the collapse of the great Abbey West, now totally decayed and reduced to a handful of old monks. What in fact failed to make the American bombers that razed at the end of World War II were able to do so in the most dire of post-Conciliar seasons Dom Bernardo D'Onofrio, awarded with the subsequent election as Archbishop of Gaeta; and Peter Dom Vittorelli, his personal Secretary and his successor below, on which the modesty dictates that spread a veil.

But nothing prevents me to be close a certain spirituality, the proof just ordained Deacon didn't pay my early services at the Dominicans in Sant'Alessio all'aventino; and when I began to preach, my style of preaching was everything inspired by the old homiletic Dominicans who'd known as a teenager and who had left an indelible mark in me by serving as a model of my preaching. As though said that Trappist monk, Maybe I was born really for «Fireworks», because in the economy of salvation, in the church there is also need Fireworks operators.

In my priestly life I always ended up doing anything that I wouldn't do, thing I thank God. This has also taught me to distrust, and so very deep, of all those people and all those priests to whom Christ, always and rigor, asks only what they want, some of them have even godless effrontery to brag by saying in public: "Jesus said ... Jesus asked me ...». Not to mention certain laymen, in particular of certain charismatic and the neocatechumenals, they have instead a holy spirit to its staff saying service and suggesting their – often against the doctrine and discipline of the Church's liturgical and canonical – what they want to hear and suggest.

A vocation is truly authentic to the extent that they are applied and experienced two principles: the principle However has not made my, but your will» [cf. LC. 22, 42], and the principle "I am crucified with Christ and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. This life in the flesh, I live by faith in the son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me " [cf. II Gal. 20].

In the absence of these two principles rooted in the consecrated person with the sacred order, contributing significantly to impress our indelible sacramental character, or we are dealing with a non-vocation, or are we faced with a fragile vocation, or we are dealing with one of those many people who are not to blame, but for serious responsibility of seminaries and novitiates today and bad trainers who often populate them, did not receive appropriate training. And who was not properly format but filled with filosofismi, sociologismi and psicologismi, It always ends with l’ “I” next to “God“, between confusion and disorders of body and soul.

As for the rest, my spiritual closeness to the sons of Saint Dominic of Guzmàn I think blatant, not just because I work with a distinguished Dominican, But why this man of great faith and wisdom represents for me a model of doctrine and theology that inspire me and to draw from it safely with both hands; in the same manner in which I draw to producing another great Dominican, Tomas Tyn, of blessed memory [1950 − † 1990], died at a young age and has really all those germs that would lead him in later years to become an authentic Thomas Aquinas of the 20th century.

About Padre Ariel

Ariel S. Levi di Gualdo Presbitero e Teologo ( Click on the name to read all its articles )

3 thoughts on "Adult vocations to the priesthood

  1. Reverend Father,
    If you don't mind me asking, may I ask if you have considered some postulate societies of apostolic life (Redemptorists, barnabites, Oratorians etc.)? If it did not, they would apply the considerations made for the religious orders?


  2. … Ariel's father by Carthusian monks? Imagine, the monks ' voices would be heard soon after even outside the walls of the monastery.
    Ariel's father from the Trappists? He'd turned into a platoon of troops.
    But there is also another possibility: Ariel's father would have really taken off the world, locked away in silence, and finally would become Holy.
    I think you're right where you are and how you are, because surely this is your natural path to holiness.
    I say this from experience: to 30 years I wanted to enter a Trappist monastery of the strict observance, Today I 72 year old, I returned to Italy from 4 year old, rather shabby, including insomnia, After doing for 30 years the missionary in the Congo.
    With the exchange of mutual prayer.

    Don Mauro Calderon

    p.s. and I'm a toscanaccio like you …

    1. Dear Brother.

      A framework, your, to say the least realistic.
      Reflecting on the many stories and events that many confreres have brought to my attention in foro interno and in foro outside, I confirm what you cleverly expressed: I myself have known men's vocations that already seen around the world to do the missionaries, but then ended up in the monasteries of contemplative life; and I've known people who wanted vocations joining monasteries of contemplative life that, like you, Instead, the missionaries have done for decades.
      The mystery of true vocation is related to the question “what Christ wants from me” and not “What I want“.

      The reciroche spare prayers.

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