Discerning Priesthood

Hey there everyone,

Warning, this goes all around and out of order. :slight_smile:

Well, I’ve been feeling a call to priesthood for a long time now. (I’m 16 right now) But I believe I started listening to it since about one year ago.

I just feel like God is leaving me a bread crumb trail for me to follow. I’ve been with the Church ever since I was born. When I was little, I celebrated a Pretend-Mass in my house using crackers. My Godfather attended the Pretend-Mass and now he is in his 5th (I think) year of seminary. I’ve been around religious people all my life and have been told constantly if I wanted to be a priest. My other Godfather owns a Catholic store. People randomly grab me and tell me I’m going to be a great priest when I grow up. I just laugh when they tell me this. And tell them, “We’ll see…

I’ve been going to a Vocationist Fathers (S.D.V.) Parish since I was a little kid.
I go to a Benedictine High School (St. Benedict’s Prep) and work a lot with the monks and the Catholic side of the school. My best friend (who goes to the same school, we’re both Juniors) is also discerning priesthood. We got 3 future seminarians in the school too.

But the thing is, I really want to get married and have a family. If God does call me to the married life, I will still be close to the Church. So yeah, I’m a little all over the place.

The orders that interest me are: Diocesan, Vocationist, Benedictine, and Marian.

So that’s kinda my story, can you guys help me? Prayers would also help! :slight_smile:

God Bless,

Brandon

Have you talked to any of the priests about your interest in the priesthood? If not, do it! But also mention that you also are wondering about the married life too. Many priests had the same exact decision to make so they will likely have some valuable insight.

It’s an important choice you’ll have to make, I’m sure you know. You discern your vocation because it’s something you have to consider with a lot of seriousness. It’s important enough for many (if not all) dioceses to have a vocation director. Make use of the resources available. At 16 though, don’t get discouraged if you are told, “You are still young. Take your time.”

Have you looked at the different websites for any of those orders? Also, for priesthood in general?

I am in the same boat as you. I have been told as the above poster stated, “You’re only 16; there’s still plenty of time.” While that is true, time is not going to wait for me. You’re getting to that age where you have to start making decisions in life that will take you this path or the that path. The attraction that you have to priesthood and marriage is completely normal. My vocation director told me that he has encountered young men considering a vocation to the priesthood that considered themselves asexual or not attracted to marriage, and he said that he did not want men that weren’t attracted to marriage in the seminary. He told me of another story about a nun speaking at a vocation retreat one time, and she said, “If any of you do not have the slightest attraction to marriage, goodbye. We do not want you here.” It’s sort of putting it harshly, but it’s true that you must be attracted to marriage to be compatible for the priesthood. In marriage, you are the biological father of your children and the husband to your mortal wife. In the priesthood, you are the spiritual father of your spiritual children, and your wife is the Catholic Church. So, this is why the two vocations go hand-in-hand and one cannot be compatible without the other in a sense.

One exercise that I like to do that I read in a vocations book is to go in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament alone at church, and just sit there and imagine myself in my future life. First, imagine yourself as a married man and going through all the times that a married man goes through, such as having children, caring for your wife and children, etc. Then, imagine yourself as a priest and doing priestly duties. Would you like preaching homilies, caring for the sick and shut-ins, bringing Jesus Christ in the Eucharist to those in prison or in need, celebrating First Holy Communion with the little children, doing baptisms, confessions, etc.? Which one strikes you the most? Which one seems like the path you should take in your life?

What you stated above about many people putting you on the spot about thinking of being a priest is a good hint. Sometimes God speaks through others; sometimes He’s subtle, and other times He’s not. I remember praying about it, and I got many “hints” throughout the day that were just too hard not to realize. Sometimes God takes His time, and other times He comes right out and says it.

One final suggestion I want to give is to go on a retreat for vocational discernment. I went on a weekend retreat like this near Christmas, and it was awesome. It was a silent retreat, which really helped me focus on my vocation and listen to God. It was really helpful and gave me a lot of clarity. Also, talk with your vocation director. He has been through this, obviously, and he’s willing to help you. Talking with mine really helped me.

Good luck on your journey!

Hi Brandon,
Just a few of my own thoughts (that may confuse you even more ha ha). It is obvious that you have been graced by God. However, don’t be railroaded into the priesthood by family members and friends etc. Holy orders are a life-long commitment, and you must consider all the ramifications. While I would not discourage anybody from entering the priesthood (we need all the priests we can get), my advice would be to pray for guidance, discuss such issues with your local priest and be guided by God. It may be that it is His will that you are destined to become a priest, alternatively, it may be Gods’ will that you are to marry and be gifted with a loving marriage and children (and children truly are a gift from God). God bless you my brother in Christ.

There is many different means to ask for God’s light in discernment. The one suggested above involving adoration seems good, just like having it as an intention for a decade of the rosary each day, or several other methods.

The key, however, I think, is to live a life of grace and have a personal relationship with Jesus and Mary. The closer you are to them, the easier the discernemtn becomes and you’ll be better off if if you discern YES or NO. As I read once, “it is more important to prepare for a vocation than to discern it.”

If you get to the point that you think you have a vocation and it is discerning diocesan or religious, which community, then check out a few now and try one out right after high school. There is no reason to celebrate 1200 fewer masses in order to get a University degree first.

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