I feel a call to the priesthood, but I have doubts about it being for me

My reasons for wanting to be a priest are as follows:

  • I want to share messages about how to live a good life and glorify God through living virtuously.
  • I want to serve my community and help people find comfort in the presence of God
  • I want to be closer to God
  • God is calling me to be more than just a Sunday Catholic
  • I want to help people. I want to help people be closer to God, and I want to help people get into Heaven.
  • I want to use my love of music to expand music ministries in the parishes I serve.
  • Though I want to marry, I doubt my desire to have children.
  • I want to fulfill God’s plan for my life, assuming that he is in fact calling me to the priesthood.
  • No matter how many times I ignore the call, I continue hearing whispers of a call to a religious vocation.

The reasons I am hesitant/don’t feel like it is for me:

  • My parents modeled a happy and fulfilling family life, and I want to marry and have a family.
  • I am not as overtly religious as my idea of a person who enters the priesthood; I have never been involved in youth group, bible study, mission trips, etc.
  • I feel slightly uncomfortable when someone asks me if I’ve heard the word of Jesus Christ. My relationship with God is a quiet and introspective one; while I would be delighted to share that relationship with others as a priest, I have never been one with a passion for spreading the word of God with whoever will listen.
  • Though I want to read the bible more, pray more, and pray the rosary more, I do not do it nearly as often as I should.

What should I do? Is the path to the clergy completely wrong for me? Or should I explore it further? My former parish priest says that I am a good Christian man, and that he wants to have coffee with me to discuss my vocation, as he is now the vocational director for my home archdiocese.

Please be respectful and kind in your responses. I have had experiences in other forums where people have been unkind and discouraging in their response to my questions.

I’m not sure you can KNOW until you try moving in that direction. Reach out to your diocese or a religious community and let them know you’re interested! It’s like dating - you have to form a relationship first. My brother was in the seminary for a few years. That is the time and place to discern. They don’t rush you into a commitment or pressure you!

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Have that coffee and get the ball rolling on your discernment.

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Prayer and the sacraments, maintaining a state of grace, are essential to finding out. Discerning the call falls primarily to the seminary rector and to the future priest’s spiritual director, so there should be a meeting.

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OP, welcome to CAF!

  • I want to share messages about how to live a good life and glorify God through living virtuously.
  • I want to serve my community and help people find comfort in the presence of God
  • I want to be closer to God
  • God is calling me to be more than just a Sunday Catholic
  • I want to help people. I want to help people be closer to God, and I want to help people get into Heaven.
  • I want to use my love of music to expand music ministries in the parishes I serve.
  • Though I want to marry, I doubt my desire to have children.

Not sure how old you are, but none of the things on your list scream vocation to the priesthood. And all of them can happen in some form while being married. Depending on your age, it is sometimes difficult to understand or feel the desire to have children. With the right person, you may begin to feel it.

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Speak with your Priest and then go from there.

It is well worth talking to this priest and having a coffee. It’s often others who see a vocation in us. All the priests I know say they were unsure all the way through seminary. Many people try seminary and drop out after a few years just to really see if they have a calling or not. That’s not failure it’s giving God your best shot.
If you don’t at least talk to this priest you will always wonder if you missed out… if you went wrong. At least those guys I knew who spent years in the seminary are now happily married knowing they did not have a vocation to the priesthood but they sure know their faith! The priests who did have the calling well often they didn’t know til the last moment that it was definitely for them… let God lead.

As for prayer and not doing enough etc.its progressive. Starts with one step… ask God to help you pray more, read the bible etc. Then decide to meditate for 10mins a day and add 5 mins every month til it’s an hour… ask God for the grace of prayer and meditation. Or whatever goal you want. One at a time. Or get a spiritual director to help you. Ask God for one. Perhaps this priest can suggest one? God bless you

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There’s a long discernment process. Why not speak to a vocations director and go from there? God will let you know what He wants…and that’s what it comes down to, isn’t it? Not what we want, but what God wants.

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Yup. Have that cup of coffee and speak freely with him, both doubts & attractions. I myself am a former seminarian. I eventually left because priesthood was not for me…even though I “wanted” it. Through the discernment process of seminary, that became clear as I approached ordination. It was not for me.

Discernment for the priesthood doesn’t mean making spreadsheets & “pros & cons” lists for yourself. Talk it out. Fear of making a “wrong decision” cripples many men. We faithful Catholics tend to have an exalted view of priests. They’re human, just like the rest of us. Many men think that they cannot live up to it.

Some of the greatest Fathers of the Church and saints thereafter initially believed that they were not worthy to become a priest.

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