Inspiring resources to cultivate and nurture the next generation of priests.
You must pray every single day, asking God to reveal his plan for you. Do not ask yourself, “What do I want to do with my life?” This is the wrong question! Rather, you should be thinking and asking: “Jesus, what do You want me to do?” And listen for the answer! Listen with your heart, not just your head! The discernment process in the priesthood must also include the Church. Your bishop is the one who will ultimately decide who is and who is not called to be a diocesan priest. He is assisted in this by the vocation office and the seminary. The process for consecrated life will include the Religious Order or organization or even bishop.
If you do not follow the vocation for which God made you, you can attain a certain degree of happiness in this world and still attain salvation (go to heaven). However, you can never be as happy as you might have been, had you followed your proper vocation. This is why it is so important that you discern correctly. The discernment of your vocation is the most important decision you will make in your entire life! Of course, there are trials and tribulations in every vocation.
Loneliness is a part of every vocation, at one time or another. It is part of the human condition. Married people get very lonely at times, even though they are surrounded by their spouses and children. Priests are always surrounded by people. This is one of the joys of being a priest. We are involved with people at the most profound moments of their lives: birth, Baptism, Confirmation, First Communion, Marriage, and death. We don’t have enough time to experience loneliness often! But when we do experience loneliness, Jesus can fill that void, as He does for people in every vocation.
Certainly not! The seminary and convent are where real discernment, trying to hear God’s voice revealing our vocation, begins. Sometimes, the only way to really know if you have a vocation to the priesthood or religious life is to actually enter the seminary or convent. During that time of formation, God’s will for you becomes clearer. The goal of the seminary or convent is to help you discern God’s will. A seminary rejoices when a man discerns that he is not called to priesthood and leaves to serve the Church in another vocation. Those precious years spent in formation are a benefit to you spiritually even if you discover that you are not called to be a priest or consecrated religious. That time will definitely help you hear God’ voice and find your vocation.
Catholic priests in the Latin Rite do not get married so as to dedicate themselves completely to Jesus and to His people. Priests generate “spiritual children” by bringing many souls to Christ and helping them to grow in holiness so that they can one day live forever in Heaven. The sacrifice of celibacy (not getting married) is a sign to the world that only Jesus can give us the happiness that we all so crave. Giving up something as important as marriage and family is a powerful sign to the world that Jesus Christ is real! He is worth living for and sacrificing for. No, it is not easy, but neither is marriage. The fact is, every vocation requires great personal sacrifice. And there is great joy in sacrifice when it is done for Jesus and for others! As one priest said: “It is true that no one will ever call me ‘daddy.’ But thousands call me ‘Father.’”