I believe there is a Bible verse that says, “not everyone who cries Lord! Lord! will be saved”
In the same way, not all who “show up at the door” of a seminary will be allowed in.
And even those who do enter constantly discern their calling, and some do leave before ordination. It is not a sign of failure or weakness, but the mystery of God’s call and our ability to listen.
There is an old saying that God always answers prayers – but sometimes the answer is “no”.
Would you be willing to listen to a story from an “old” man?
IN my life experience, I felt called to the priesthood from a young age and in college I made the decision to pursue the application process. I did all the things I read so many young men doing in these forums. They become servers and volunteers at church, they pray the LOTH, they "fantasize’ about their ministry, get a spiritual director, attend days of reflections, etc. I even got through the application process and psychological testing
I did all that and in the end the quiet voice of God told me that he wanted “right where I was” – in the family I lived in, to take care of a sick parent, to work an entry level job after college, still volunteer at the local church, and be content where God wanted me to be That was not what I wanted to hear or believe and I was angry and probably cried with disappointment but I followed the discernment.
What did I learn? I learned that there are many ways to have a vocation from God. There can be the calling to a profession and to living a loving relationship. As a result I became a professor and have a loving family of my own. This is where God wants me to be, this is my vocation.
Was my pursuit of a religious vocation a waste? Of course not! I learned so much about myself and faith I probably would not have learned any other way.
Did Satan trick me? No, God guided me to pursue “my way” so I could see “His way”
Should we continue to pray for vocations? Of course!
I don’t why God has allowed a “drought” of vocations over the past 50 years, and in the end, it does not worry me, because I know all things are in his control.
I hope this helps. Feel free to PM me if you have questions.