Outward signs? :ehh: One does not need “outward” signs to have a vocation; often, inward signs are more important. I certainly have never had any “outward” signs (unless you count the Bishop, Vocations Director, and seminary staff “signing off” on everything, so to speak), and yet I will be entering the seminary this Fall. Even there I will continue to discern.
Frankly, I’ve actually had people tell me that I shouldn’t become a priest, for a variety of reasons (most having to do with our secular culture).
I personally didn’t like his writing style, nor some of the ideas expressed in the book. It seems to me that he describes the ideal candidate, and then (whether he means to or not) tells everybody else something to the effect of “well, you can apply, but I don’t think you’re going to get very far”. Certainly, if we are picking our priests, this “ideal candidate” might be prudent advice. In practice, however, we do not pick our priests; they are called by God. Why He chooses to call some and not others is anyone’s guess; He chooses at His pleasure. I know of priests who (sometime before entering priesthood) had same-sex attractions, did drugs, were alcoholics, had relations with others, etc.; none of which would have been able to enter if we went by this book, but now live their lives as very holy and reverent priests.
I guess what I’m trying to get at is this: if one feels that they are being called to the Catholic Priesthood, short of true mitigating factors (such as outlined in Canon Law, the Program for Priestly Formation, or being told so by the Vocations Director/Bishop/Superior General) you should explore that call regardless of what anyone says. I would go so far as to say that this is one’s obligation, if one truly seeks to do the Lord’s will. “Vocat te Oriens et tu attendis ad occidentem” (The rising sun (i.e. Christ) is calling you, and you look to the West (i.e. in the direction of fallen man))