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Recognizing the Call

​As in the past, God is calling men today to serve as priests in the Catholic Church. Throughout history, many have been called to the priesthood. They have lived exemplary lives and have extended the mission of Jesus Christ around the world. There are many heroic stories to be told about priests in every age. Yet, today it is harder than in the past to discover God's call. There are so many valuable ways that you can choose to live your life. There are so many distractions that make it hard to hear God's voice. Discerning a vocation is a challenge, no doubt about it. It can be especially tough today because others, even parents and friends, may not be encouraging or supportive.
In the world of the Third Millennium, many are hungry to find greater meaning in life, eager to discover some purpose for their life. The life of a priest is focused on helping people address the deeper questions of life. Priests are needed today more than ever. Maybe God is calling you to be a priest? You will not know for sure unless you consider the possibility.

Five Moments of Discernment
1. When discerning a vocation there is always a confusion of options. Many things interest us.

  • Suggestion: root out any interests that are "bad" or not of God, then with the remaining good choices, seek out your dominant interest and pursue it.
2. The decision making process is a complicated matter. There are many "layers" of decisions that must be looked at. At the same time there are clues, "signs" that are present to us.
  • Suggestion: follow the leads that are present.
3. There is very often uncertainty in the discernment process. At any one point in time we only see partial glimpses, not the whole picture, therefore uncertainty exists.
  • Suggestion: trust what is deepest in your heart.
4. In discernment, your decision will always meet a certain amount of inner resistance. Resistance is a good sign. There is always risk when a person makes significant decisions in his life. A person must have sufficient love in his heart to take a significant risk.
  • Suggestion: reflect on what is the source of love in your heart, where it is leading you, and how deeply it is present.
5. When discerning your vocation, the road ahead will always remain a bit foggy. You probably will not know with absolute certainty what lies ahead. The future will always remain a bit hidden. Mystery and the unknown are part of everyone's future.
  • Suggestion: take one step at a time. don't try to "figure out" in exact detail your entire future.  

Questions to ask yourself:

  • Have I experienced God's love in my life?
  • Do I actively practice my Catholic faith and participate in my parish?
  • Does the Gospel message excite and challenge me?
  • Am I searching for a way to share my gifts with others? 
  • Do I desire a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ?
  • Am I willing to offer my life for the mission of Jesus Christ and his Church?
  • Do I like working with people and do I get along with men and women from all walks of life?
  • Do I want to make a positive difference in the lives of others?

Thinking about the priesthood?

To be called by God is to experience a deep and personal stirring within one's soul. All who believe in the person and power of Jesus Christ, all who are baptized, are called to walk with their brothers and sisters on their journey to the Lord. This is an open call, a call to all Christians. But the call of God can take a more specific shape. Today, God calls some people to a service of leadership in the Church as priests. In proclaiming God's word, celebrating the sacraments and shepherding the flock to which they themselves belong, priests live out a call they have experienced. When the call to priesthood is coupled with an attraction to being with the People of God in a given place, the local Church or diocese, and serving them particularly in parish ministry, then the call points to diocesan priesthood.