God recruits those who
are aware of His presence in their lives and are captivated by the
mystery of salvation as it is expressed in the life and teachings of
In the initial stages of recruitment, the signs of God’s call are but
“seeds” that need to be nurtured and developed. In each seed there is
potency for growth and the possibility of a response to the call of a
vocation. When the “seed” becomes visible one should urge the person to
seek a spiritual direction of a Catholic priest.
Something inside of me makes me feel that Jesus is asking me to be
priest: It may be from the time you were very young or in grammar
school, high school, college or later; it is very often mysterious, but
it is more than just a passing thought. It is often very persistent – it
won’t “go away”, even though you try to ignore it or deny it – it may
“go away” for a time and come back, but there is “something there”: you
have learned about and come to know Jesus and, on some level, you have
“heard” him calling.
following “signs” should be considered by one considering priesthood.
Generosity and Service
important as the above signs are, the call to priesthood is a “gift
and a mystery from God.” Prayer, wise discernment and the call from
the Bishop must bless all these signs and all the kind invitations
offered by friends who ask “Have you thought of being a priest?”
priestly vocations involve some combination or variation of one or more
of the above “signs”, but the mysterious yet clear call of Jesus Christ
always has some very personal, unique element. While there are common
elements, like those listed above, in many priestly vocations, each
priest and each man and woman that seriously considers priesthood in
some way has their own, unique story of “hearing the call”, which is one
part of a vocation the priesthood. First He calls, and then He waits for
The awareness of God’s
presence is rooted in a firm belief in God’s existence and in the belief
that God’s guiding spirit is expressed in the events of human life.
These two beliefs often call forth a spirit of wonderment and a desire
to participate actively in salvation history. It is God’s work that we
share in and contribute to when we respond to the call of priesthood.
Any Catholic can be called to the
priesthood from either a young age, or in the course of their teen-age
years, or in their adult years. Those called feel a very strong
attraction with the Catholic faith, the Mass, and the Real Presence of
Jesus Christ in the Most Holy Eucharist. The man or woman called to
priesthood comes to realize the way in which the priest is called to
teach and pass-on the Catholic Faith, especially in the celebration of
the sacraments, preaching, and the witness of a life of prayer and
loving service and wonders if Jesus is calling him or her to “lay down
their life” for others as a priest.
The awareness of God’s presence in life
leads to a reverent wonderment about salvation and the possibility of
individually sharing in that work. A priest is called to share in the
Priesthood of Jesus Christ. In this wonderment one might discover a call
to priesthood, and a motivation to live as a priest. Prayer and
reflection, when properly guided can enrich this wonderment.
The gift of generosity must accompany a
discerning heart. Generosity must be encouraged and strengthened as one
considers a call to priesthood in these secular times. A natural
inclination to help others without counting the cost would be a gift
that would certainly enrich the Church and the people of God in the life
of a priest and might therefore be a sign of a priestly calling. “For
the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his
life…” (Mark 10:45)
It may be through volunteering in one’s parish in a variety of areas, or
in a soup-kitchen, or shelter, or in a nursing home, or some other
project, but very often in recognizing the need to serve Jesus in “the
distressing disguise of the poor” or in the “least of our brothers and
sisters” (Matthew.25), that one realizes that they are called to be a
priest and act “in persona Christi”, as another Christ
In a society and culture that often seems to be moving further and
further away from God, the person sees the need to proclaim and witness
to the Good News of the Gospel, to proclaim the “Gospel of Life” in a
“culture of death”, to lead others in working for peace and justice, and
to stand for the Truth of Christ against the forces of darkness and evil
in our world.
Leadership is most important
in the life of a priest. If one exhibits this gift of leadership in
ordinary life encounters, such a gift will enrich one’s service if there
is a call to priesthood. A priest is called to lead others to the Lord.
Something to think about -
1. Have I experienced God’s love in my life?
2. Do I believe, practice and promote my Catholic faith?
3. Do I participate in my Catholic parish?
4. Does the ministry I participate in at the parish energize me more
than my job?
5. Am I searching for a way to share my gifts, talents, and passions
6. Do I desire a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ?
7. Does my relationship with God give me strength and direction?
8. Am I willing to offer my life for the mission of Jesus Christ and His
9. Do I like working with people and do I get along with men and women
from all walks of life?
10. Do I want to make a lasting, positive difference in the lives of
11. Do I find myself imagining myself as a priest, especially at Mass?
12. Do I long to find more meaning, fulfillment and joy in my life?
13. Does the idea of becoming a priest keep coming back time and again?
your answers are yes, than maybe it is time to you to consider speaking
with your bishop.
she will always have the time, if you do.
Saint John the Evangelist Seminary
An Online Academic Program