No more fear of missing out

A few years ago, I learned about a terrible disease that afflicts many millennials such as myself. This disease paralyzes us and renders us incapable of making any real commitment. The experts call it FOMO, or “fear of missing out.”

In my vocational discernment, often I have found myself straddling the proverbial fence between the priesthood and marriage. I have never enjoyed being there — it is quite an uncomfortable place to be. But, I also like keeping all of my options open … just in case.

In college, I heard a priest reflect that when we say “yes” to a good thing, we say “no” to a thousand others. I knew what he meant, because I was afraid to say “no,” to deny myself any good thing, especially the incredibly good things called marriage and family. I should have been diagnosed with a crippling case of FOMO.

Several weeks ago, I found myself in that similar place. I still felt called to the priesthood, but I also felt sorry for myself and restless (two symptoms of FOMO) because I did not want to miss out on having a wife and kids. Another seminarian woke me from my self-pity. He shared how he was only able to say “yes” to priesthood when he focused on what he was receiving — life in the service of God — instead of what he was giving up.

At the end of the summer I and 14 other seminarians received the call to become official candidates for the priesthood. Now, I have made my choice. No more fence-sitting. No more fear of missing out. Because giving a whole-hearted “yes” to the priesthood frees me to truly, joyfully pursue God’s call in my life. And, God’s call is something I do not want to miss out on.

Jacobeen, who is from St. Timothy Church in Chantilly, is in his first year of theology studies at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Wynnewood, Pa.

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2018