I’m going to a university in the fall and I am setting my heart on meeting someone there. If not, I think I may have to become a priest. Is this being too harsh on myself?

I would not plan on becoming a priest simply because you do not meet the right person within your time frame. When we try to force our vocation into a timetable, we are acting out of impatience and saying to God, “You’ve got X amount of months to accomplish my will.” Often God’s ways are not our ways, so pray that God will make it clear if he calls you to serve him as a priest. If you accept any vocation, it should be out of generosity, love, and courage, not frustration.

Sometimes we decide what we want in order to be happy, and then we wait until we get it to become pleased with life. This is a recipe for unhappiness, because God gives us what we need, not always what we want. Though this time of singleness may seem like a problem, perhaps you need to look at it differently. Mother Teresa used to say that there are no problems in life; there are only challenges in love for Jesus. She also remarked that the world sees everything as a “problem.” Why not use the word gift?

Why a gift? Well, the vocation that God has in mind for you is where you will have the most joy. You do not want a marriage that he has not willed, and you do not want to have a marriage before God wills it. The Bible repeatedly says in its love poem, Song of Songs, “Do not stir up love before its own time” (Song 2:7; 3:5; 8:4 NAB). You may feel that love’s time is long overdue, but trust that the Lord will act, and know that his timing is perfect.

Take one day at a time. His faithfulness and kindness reach to the skies, and God has glory in what he conceals. He wants you where you are right now, so embrace his will as it is revealed to you in the present moment in order to grow in sanctity. Also, remember that a vocation is not the ultimate purpose for our existence. Holiness is. God may not be calling you to know your vocation today, but he is calling you to holiness.

I understand that this time of loneliness is difficult, but allow the words of Scripture to console you and encourage you to persevere:

“My son, when you come to serve the Lord, prepare yourself for trials. Be sincere of heart and steadfast, undisturbed in time of adversity. Cling to him, forsake him not; thus will your future be great. Accept whatever befalls you, in crushing misfortune be patient; For in fire gold is tested, and worthy men in the crucible of humiliation. Trust God and he will help you; make straight your ways and hope in him. You who fear the Lord, wait for his mercy, turn not away lest you fall. . . . Study the generations long past and understand; has anyone hoped in the Lord and been disappointed? . . . For equal to his majesty is the mercy that he shows” (Sir. 2:1–7, 10, 18, NAB).

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