I am only a freshman in college, but recently I have contemplated transferring to a Catholic school, studying up on church matters, and then being a priest some day. I am not sure if this is right for me and it might just be a rash phase, so I would like to know what you all think before I make some decisions that I would regret and that might not be genuine.
I should tell you a little bit about my background. There are a lot of things going not really as I had planned in my life right now. I had always envisioned myself going going to the University of Notre Dame, but instead I have been stuck at an uncomfortably public liberal school. I feel so out of place here, and that has grown my awareness that I might prefer a higher calling. Just the other day, I got stared at and snickered at because of the ash on my forehead. Also, when I first arrived at this school, I hung up a crucifix on my wall and was chastised by my roommate and some people on my floor. To make myself feel a little more comfortable, I have spent some of the few dollars I have buying statues of the Virgin Mary and rosaries. I secretly hope that my roommate goes home every weekend so I can say the rosary in private and stare at the crucifix on the wall. I’ve seen how secular and meaningless my generation is, and I don’t feel like I’m a part of it.
I have always been a very ambitious person, in a secular sense. I have always dreamed of going to best law school someday, making myself known in that profession, and maybe running for political office. But I have struggled to find a place in a secular community, and I am beginning to see that some of my lifelong ambitions might not come to pass. I pray in my head frequently throughout the day. I clutch my rosary beads when I get nervous or stressed. I would rather spend a night listening to Catholic hymns on my iPod than meeting people and socializing. The things I have always wanted increasingly appear trivial.
I have always admired the priesthood: the respect and faith parishioners put into a simple man, the powers he has to perform the sacraments to save his followers, and how he so easily makes our earthly wants and problems insignificant. Last Wednesday I began to realize that I might want to seriously throw away my earthly ambitions and join the priesthood when a heard a priest so beautifully explaining Lent and then putting a dirty pile of mud on my forehead while explaining that it symbolizes my faith that everything I have now will someday turn to dust but that if I can remember what that dirty muck means, I won’t have to worry about the tiny issues of today.
I’ve been told that priests consider their vocation a calling, or that they believe they were chosen to be priests. For me, my rationale for joining the priesthood would be because of my misfortune. All of the times I have felt excluded because of my faith and the insecurity I have that I might not be good enough to achieve all of my secular dreams could be taken as a signal that those goals are not worth pursuing and that I have something more to offer.
This probably is less important, but I also have some childish fascination with the black garments and the white collar, sort of like how a child sees a GI Joe uniform. I think I would look good in that “uniform.” It would complement my red hair nicely. I have constantly told myself, I thought jokingly, that if I am still single when I’m forty, then I will become a priest.
My concern is that this is just a phase. After all, I am going to try to transfer to Notre Dame next year (I have a good chance since I have a 4.0 right now). If I get there, I could feel more comfortable socially and forget about why I would want to be a priest. I still want to go to one of the country’s top law schools, which obviously are not Catholic.
What do you all think? Should I start prepping for the priesthood? (Sorry for writing so much.)