When they brought their boats to the shore, [Peter, James, and John] left everything and followed him ~ Luke 5:11.
The word, vocation, comes from the Latin word vocare, which means “to call.” This means that a vocational call is always an invitation. God respects our freedom to say yes or no. Whether he calls us to the vocation of marriage, religious life, or priesthood, he always invites, he never coerces. If God is calling you to a vocation, he invites you to trust him, and to respond with a resounding “yes.”
God created each one of us for love and relationship. He desires to know and love each of us in a particular way. God also calls each and every one of us to be holy – to know, love, and serve Him in this world, so that we may be happy with Him eternally in heaven.
God calls many men and women to live out their holiness and vocational call to love in marriage and as parents who have a privileged opportunity to be the first teachers of God’s love to their children.
But God also calls some men and women to devote themselves to proclaiming the Gospel and to build up the kingdom of heaven through religious life and ordained ministry. In this ordained ministry, God calls some men to live out their holiness in a specific way as priests.
The vocation to the priesthood is a vocation of love that participates in the mission of Jesus Christ. Jesus is the Good Shepherd who came to seek the lost and bring them back to the Father. Priests devote their lives to this mission; the salvation of souls. They imitate Christ’s search for humanity by looking for the lost sheep in our world and teaching others about the God who loves them, proclaiming, “Jesus Christ loves you; he gave his life to save you; and now he is living at your side every day to enlighten, strengthen and free you” (EG, 164).
Am I called inventory:
- I love Jesus Christ.
- I have a thirst to bring Jesus and his teachings to the world.
- I am endeavoring to be a believing, practicing Catholic Christian.
- 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, sometimes it’s stronger than others.
- Others tell me that I would make a good priest.
- Praying with Scripture is an important aspect of my spiritual life.
- I am endeavoring to live virtuously.
- I have sufficient social skills to be around people.
- I have the work ethic to complete graduate-level coursework
- I am joyful.
- I think that I have a ‘priest’s heart’.
- I believe that I have the self-mastery to be a good priest.
- I have demonstrated stability in my life.
- I have had experiences that seem to be pointing toward priesthood.
- I am able to accept success and failure without losing my peace.
- I have a healthy psycho-sexual development and orientation.
- I am trying to be truly open to God’s will for my life.
(Excerpted from To Save a Thousand Souls, Fr. Breet A. Brannen. Reprinted with permission.)
Ways to discern God’s call:
- Pray: scripture, rosary, holy hour, adoration
- Sacraments: Mass, Confession, Eucharist
- Become involved in your parish
- Talk to your pastor and a priest you admire
- Contact your vocation director
- Attend the Exploring Priesthood Discernment Group
- Visit the Seminary and talk to a seminarian