After spending time in prayer and reflection, asking the Lord what His will is for you, it can sometimes be helpful to “gauge” where you are before taking the next step. In his excellent discernment guide, To Save a Thousand Souls, Fr Brett Brannen offers the following discernment exercise. Examining yourself using these twenty qualities or signs is a good way to begin one’s discernment of priesthood, but it should not be done in a vacuum. There are many other ways to discern. If you have gotten this far it is surely time to have a conversation with the vocations director.
On each of the twenty questions below, rate yourself on a scale from 0-5. A rating of 0 means you do not posses the stated sign at all. A 5 indicates that this sign is very evident in your life. The highest possible score is 100. Be completely honest with your answers and rate yourself fairly.
- _____ I love Jesus Christ and I have a thirst to bring Jesus and His teaching to the world.
- _____ I am endeavouring to be a believing, practising Catholic.
- _____ I am trying to live a life of prayer and I desire a life of prayer.
- _____ I am trying to serve others and I desire a life of service to others.
- _____ I feel a desire to be a priest, though it is sometimes stronger than at other times.
- _____ Others tell me that I should be a priest or that I would make a good priest.
- _____ Prayerful reading of Sacred Scripture leads me to believe I might be called to be a priest.
- _____ I am endeavouring to live virtuously.
- _____ I like to be around people and I have sufficient social skills to engage others.
- _____ I have enough intelligence to complete graduate-level coursework and function as a priest.
- _____ I think I have the physical, emotional, and psychological stability to become a priest.
- _____ I am joyful and I have a good sense of humour.
- _____ I think that I have a “priest’s heart,” a heart with kindness and compassion for others.
- _____ I believe that I have the self-mastery to be a man of prayer and leadership.
- _____ Generally speaking, I have demonstrated stability in my life.
- _____ People who know me would say I am a Christian gentleman.
- _____ I have had events happen in my life that seem to be signs pointing towards the priesthood.
- _____ I am usually able to accept both success and failure without losing hope.
- _____ I believe that I have a healthy psycho-sexual development and orientation.
- _____ I am trying to be truly open to the will of God for my life.
Tally your score and email it to your vocation director asking for his feedback. He will be happy to hear from you and happy that you are considering priesthood. It is important to remember that this is only a tool, even a high score does not necessarily mean that you have a priestly vocation.