Applicants to Collegium need to do some serious self-examination in order to determine if “clergy” status is really what they are being called to seek. One of the questions that must be addressed is the degree of commitment involved.
There are many ways to serve as clergy, but no matter where your ministry lies, if you serve to the best of your abilities, that service is going to absorb a great amount of your time and energy. It would be wise to consider just how that expenditure of your personal resources will affect the conduct of your daily/mundane life.
Consider spouses, lovers, life-mates, those people with whom you share the intimacies of daily life.how will they be affected? If you are already committed to someone in that close a bonding, what changes in the relationship will result when you take on a larger commitment? How many evenings per month will your mate be willing to have you elsewhere doing the work of the Gods? Can s/he accept the fact that other people will make demands on you that may have to take precedence over her/his own wants? Will your mate be willing to provide loving support when the strain of dealing with other peoples’ crises overwhelms you? Can s/he do this without complaining and feeling neglected? Is your mate willing to share you with the God/dess? And when both your mate and a circle sister or brother need you, how will you decide whose needs have priority?
The life-mate of a priest/ess must be able to adjust her/his needs as would the spouse of any other minister, or doctor, or the relationship may not last. The support of your mate can contribute greatly to your ministry; lack of that support may destroy either your ministry or your relationship.
The same considerations that apply to your mate apply also to your children, even more so. You cannot divorce your children, nor, especially with young children, can you really get their informed consent to sharing your time. However, with a little luck (and the help of the Goddess), children will eventually get old enough not to need all your energy all the time. If you have very young ones, perhaps you can best serve the Gods at this point by seeing to the physical and spiritual development of the next generation.
Unless the Gods have seen fit to bless you with a source of independent wealth, you will need to spend some of your time in gainful employ. Your employer has the right to “a day’s work for a day’s wages”. How will s/he react if someone you’ve been counseling calls you at the office and needs to talk for an hour? Can you take the afternoon off in order to deal with someone’s spiritual crisis? What if your career involves travel, and being out of town often? How available can you be to the community you are supposed to be serving?
What if, for example, you are responsible for caring for an elderly or ailing parent or other relative?
How much of your time and energy is really yours to give away?
What commitment is expected of clergy?
The commitment that the priest/ess undertakes in the consecration rite is to the service of Divinity, and the children thereof, not as the servant chooses, but as the god/desses decide. The priest/ess may seek out opportunities to serve, but must serve those who come for help or counsel. The Consecration Pledge gives the essence of the role:
I will pledge to serve the Gods for Their glory, not for my gain;
I will remember that I am only the channel, not the source of power;
I will remember that any deed done may react upon the doer again;
I will give whatever help I can to whomever comes to me to learn;
I will hold all women to be my sisters, and look for the lady within them even when they have forgotten Her themselves;
I will hold all men to be my brothers, and look for the Lord within them, even when they have forgotten Him themselves;
I will remember that my body is the temple of Divinity, and honor it.
I will remember that my spirit is the voice of Divinity, and listen to it:
I will remember that there are those who love me, and act from Love.