Is God calling me to be a priest? How can I know for sure? What’s the best way to make such an important decision?
As you contemplate what to do with your life, be confident that God has a specific plan for you, and that you can discover it through prayer. Authentic prayer goes beyond saying a couple of Our Fathers and Hail Marys in a church pew. Put simply, the deepest kind of prayer is a heartfelt conversation with Christ. In fact, prayer helps us to achieve union with God, which is the vocation of all Christians. No matter which vocation God has in mind for you, it is essential that you learn to pray well. While you can pray about your vocation anywhere, it is often helpful to pray before the Blessed Sacrament at your parish church.
Read inspiring Scripture passages
Prayerfully reading scripture can spark a great conversation between you and the Lord. Here are a few suggested passages to get started:
- Matthew 19: 16-30 – Jesus’ encounter with the rich young man
- John 1:35-51 – The calling of the first disciples
- Luke 14:25-33 – Following Christ no matter what the cost
Contemplate life changes
Everyone, no matter how holy, can always live more perfectly. Think about the things in your life which may be holding you back from making commitments to God. Start with the little things… but don’t be afraid to tackle the big ones!
Talk to God about your friends and family
If you make the decision to begin studying for the priesthood, your parents may not understand. Your friends may be skeptical. If so, ask God for guidance in these relationships.
Remember that Jesus himself had family and friends who didn’t always understand him; he can sympathise with what you are going through.
Confront your fears and ask for courage
For a healthy single man, considering a celibate life without the comforts of a wife and family is difficult, since our nature draws us toward family life. Many men are afraid seminary will be too challenging or that public speaking will prove too difficult. Speak to God about these concerns, then ask for courage and peace. If you confront your fears now, with God’s help, your discernment will be much less complicated.
Ask God to show you your strengths
If God is calling you to the priesthood, he will have given you certain qualities that will make you a good priest. Spend some time examining your personal gifts, then imagine how you can use them to help others as a priest. You may discover you have a lot to contribute to the Church!
In the end, spending time with Jesus should be like a conversation with a good friend. Speak to Jesus from your heart and then listen. You’re not likely to hear anything with your ears. Instead, “hearing” results in an increase in understanding, acceptance, and willingness to follow God’s path for your life.
Prayer is the surest way to know what God wants you to do with your life – and to gain the grace and courage to do it!