What if I change my mind about being a priest during training or things just don’t work out? How do I pick my life back up again?
You would need time to make such a transition, and you would be offered support to do it. The Jesuit Constitutions, for example, state that a man ought to be helped to ‘leave (the Order) in peace’ if it has been carefully discerned that this is God’s will for him. So, the first step in ‘picking your life back up again’ is to tell yourself that you are doing the right thing and to be at peace with your decision.
Secondly, then, you need to be patient as you re-adjust to lay life. It is natural that you might feel disoriented for a while and perhaps hanker after the life you have left behind. Remain calm and steady. You will soon find greater ease in your own skin.
Thirdly, it would be good to seek guidance – if necessary – with regard to the path ahead: what you wish to do now, what your ‘vocation’ as a lay person might entail, and so on. Don’t rush into this, of course, and remember that God still has a plan for your life. Gradually you will discover it, as events, circumstances and your own inner desires, make it clear.
Most popular questions
- Are religious orders different from one another? If so, how are they different?
- What if as a priest I need to take time out to care for a relative or family member?
- Can a gay man become a priest?
- What’s the difference between a diocesan priest and a priest in a religious order?
- Why are there so many different religious organisations?
- School was never something I really liked. Is the study part of formation very hard?
- I feel I have a specific charism to youth outreach. Can I live this charism out as a priest, or must I follow the charism of the order I join?
- What is a deacon and how is it different than a priest?
- What does discernment mean when we’re talking about vocation?
- What can I do as a priest that I cannot do as a layperson working for a charity or NGO?