Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Discernment Info

The amount of Blogging on God or the Girl has expanded into the evangelical blogs as well. I've left some comments on some, and since most of those people will probably be visiting me now, I think its worthwhile to share some of my thoughts on discernment and parts of the show as well.

First of all, I must say that I am greatful to the people at A&E for making this show. Still, A&E is a televisions station, and thus makes money by attracting people to watch the show, and the advertisements. In order to keep ratings up, it has made it seem as though there are some absolutes that don't really exist. The first one, is that it is Either God, or 'the Girl and not God.' Having the distinction might lead some to the belief that Catholics somehow see marriage as being less committed to God. This is not true. Holiness, complete commitment to God, is the Goal of Christians, whether married, or single, or consecrated to celibacy. In fact, it was revealed on Larry King Live that the original title for the show was "The Holy Journey." Obviously that doesn't sell, but it is more truthful. Our vocation is part of our journey to holiness, not its beginning or end.

Onto some comments on the show. Somewhere out there (unfortunately I can't find the page anymore) someone wrote that they didn't like the position the girls were put into. I must say I agree. A good friend of mine was dating a guy who was discerning the priesthood, and it was almost as if it turned into a battle between her and God for this guy's life. That wasn't cool at all, and both my friends regret having the relationship. You should never discern two vocations at a time. I would have liked to have seen Mike pick one thing to focus his attention and prayer life on. Some college seminary programs allow their guys to date, and while I'm sure their vocation directors know best, I think this would be way too confusing for college seminarians to handle. I think Dan did it right on the show. Him and Amber (at least I think it was Amber), in realizing their Christian call to holiness, took time off to discern. Amber had the best line of the show when she told Dan that she wanted to see him in heaven! That is what its all about! That is the meaning of Vocation!

The discernment process seemed very complicated and absolute on the show. None of the guys are making an absolute decision to date, or go to seminary. Here at my seminary, I can leave whenever I want. In fact, about 5 guys have already left this year. The seminary is merely a place of more intense, more focused discernment, where not only you discern the priesthood, but where the Church discerns whether or not it wants you as a priest. So far, that element has been left out. I believe this guy said this as well. Also, just because one of these guys might decide on "the girl" doesn't mean he could later reconsider and go to seminary.

One Evangelical blog made a statement about the Tension, Terror, and Triumph that was brought up on the show. This, I feel was fueled again by the TV ratings factor. Alliteration just makes things more exciting, and those are strong words. Sure there is tension in answering our vocation, just as the apostles felt tension with the world they were in. And sure, when I started visiting the idea of priesthood I was a little scared (just as my friends have had 'cold feet' on their wedding day. Have I triumphed? Well...I'm going to go with no, although I'm happy where I am right now. These words however, to the non-discerner, may make the discernment process a little more intimidating than it actually is.

I might add more to this later, but I feel I've typed enough. Any questions about discernment can be left in the comment box, or emailed to me.

1 comment:

Val said...

Well said. Ack, can't watch any of those episodes out here! I only got to see the first. Maybe I'll just get the dvd. Good job on this one. Lots of truth in it. :)