Hi, I’m a 17 year old teenager boy who is now a senior in high school. And lately, I have been wondering if God is calling me to the priesthood. Is it too early to tell? The importance of God and Christianity has been weighing on my mind a lot lately, since a whole year in fact. Sometimes all I can think about is Christianity and the things about it that I don’t understand. This has never happened to me before, Christianity seemed boring to me initially, like studying history in school, but now its all I want to know about.
I had even entertained the thought of being a priest when I was 10. My mother encouraged me, but when I told my father, He became extremely upset and tried to talk me out of it. So I forgot about it for a while.
But now, I think God might want me to become a priest, but how do I know FOR SURE? I recognize that the priesthood is the highest of honors and an enormous responsibility, and that grates on me a bit. I am not great with people, and get anxious easily. Plus, ever since I began to ask Christ to see myself with His eyes, I see now that I have many faults.
Plus can priests have side-jobs as well? I got a scholarship for a college, and I am going to get a job. Can I keep a job and be a priest if I am called to be one? Thank you!
He would not only be able to give you the low down, but he would also be able to put you in contact with organizations that help young men find out if they want to enter into seminary or not.
It ain’t the Army where you sign up for a small number of years. It’s a lifelong commitment of complete servitude to others. I don’t honestly know that you’d have time for a side job, nor any understanding as to why you would want one in such a vocation and calling.
How the priests in my area don’t burn out, I don’t know. Outside of the Grace of God and the Holy Spirit, prayer, intercession, etc, there is no human way to keep the schedule they do, with the sincerity they do, and not be divinely protected.
My dad was a part-time Baptist minister ( I’m a convert to the RCC) and that took away massive amounts of time. I know the full time position of pastoral duties is taxing to say the least. Not something to be entered into lightly or halfheartedly.
May your questions be answered through prayer and guidance of your spiritual elders.
Work with a spiritual director who will help you discern. There are boys who go to a seminary all their lives (in the Philippines some seminaries have elementary and highschool attached to the seminary so that boys can go there and from an early age, discern. Of course not all boys eventually become priests). And I know a priest (albeit he’s Byzantine, but I’m sure there are a lot of examples in the Roman Church) who didn’t receive his calling until he’s well into his 60s.
I’m always fascinated by those young men, who, in this age, can commit themselves to such a noble cause. It makes my heart rejoice! But sometimes I find them to be socially immature and often despotic as well. I think that some time in the Army would have helped them mature before becoming a spiritual counselor…
I would say: Get your college degrees, meet girls, meet all kinds of people. You will need the experience as a priest. Moreover, we need priests graduated in all kinds of science. Then, in the end, after all the trials, you may decide…
I think that you are too young to decied. I know, I know, in the old times there were some who decided that a 10 year old boy was going to be a priest and that gave not so good results…
There are many very practical courses of college study that would benefit a future priest. For example, the church must have administrators with a business education who know how to prepare and meet a budget. The Church has scientists and lawyers and teachers and engineers and historians and medical doctoras all wearing the collar. There is a place for almost any mainstream course of study that will bring you better prepared for your duties than to directly enter the seminary. Furthermore, any work experience you can gather would help you later to understand the difficulties faced by your flock, and you would have time to better discern your calling. God isn’t going to lose patience with you while you prepare yourself and discern your vocation. It may be that you are called to work, marriage, and the important role of deacon in your parish if not the priesthood. Take your time and listen carefully to what the Spirit says in the quietness of your heart. You will be fine.
Read the pamphlets ‘Vocations’ and ‘Shall I be a Priest’, they are extremely informative and helpful They helped me and give good sound advice that helped thousands discern their calling (they sold around 80,000 copies).
The following is a list of some of the ordinary indications of a vocation, taken principally from the works of Father Gautrelet, S.J., and the Retreat Manual. No one need expect to have all these marks, but if some of them are not perceived, the person may safely say he has no vocation 1. A desire to have a religious vocation, together with the conviction that God is calling you. This desire is generally most strongly felt when the soul is calm, after Holy Communion, and in time of retreat.
2. A growing attraction for prayer and holy things in general, together with a longing for a hidden life and a desire to be more closely united to God.
3. To have a hatred of the world, a conviction of its hollowness and insufficiency to satisfy the soul. This feeling is generally strongest in the midst of worldly amusement.
4. A fear of sin, into which it is so easy to fall, and a longing to escape from the dangers and temptations of the world.
5. It is sometimes the sign of a vocation when a person fears that God may call them; when he prays not to have it and cannot banish the thought from his mind. If the vocation is sound, it will soon give place to an attraction, though Father Lehmkuhl says: “One need not have a natural inclination for the religious life; on the contrary, a divine vocation is compatible with a natural repugnance for that state.”
6. To have zeal for souls. To realise something of the value of an immortal soul, and to desire to co-operate in their salvation.
7. To desire to devote our whole life to obtain the conversion of one dear to us.
8. To desire to atone for our own sins or those of others, and to fly from the temptations which we feel too weak to resist.
9. An attraction for the state of virginity.
10. The happiness which the thought of religious life brings, its spiritual helps, its peace, merit and reward.
11. A longing to sacrifice oneself and abandon all for the love of Jesus Christ, and to suffer for His sake.
12. A willingness in one not having any dowry, or much education, to be received in any capacity, is a proof of a real vocation.
Hence we may conclude with the learned theologian, Lessius, “If anyone takes the determination of entering religion, well resolved to observe its laws and duties, there is no doubt that this resolution, this vocation, comes from God, whatever the circumstances which seem to have produced it.”
“It matters little how we commence, provided we are determined to persevere and end well,” says St. Francis de Sales; and St. Thomas lays it down that” no matter from what source our resolution comes of entering religion, it is from God”; while Suarez maintains that “generally the
It is a curious fact that although many pious and learned persons do not shrink from discouraging, in every possible way, aspirants to religious life, they would scruple to give them any help or encouragement. “A vocation must be entirely the work of the Holy Ghost,” they say. Willingly they paint the imaginary difficulties and trials of a convent life, and hint at the unhappiness sometimes to be found there; they speak of the long and serious deliberation neces-sary before one takes such a step, and thus, unintentionally perhaps, but most effectually, extinguish the glowing enthusiasm of a youthful heart. Some even assume a terrible responsibility by deliberately turning www.fatherdoyle.com
away souls from the way into which the Master is calling them, forgetting the warning: “It is I who have chosen you,” never reflecting on the irretrievable harm they are causing by spoiling the work of God. Others calmly assure a postulant, who has been found unsuitable for a particular Order, that this is a certain sign Almighty God does not want him, that he has no vocation and should not try again.
It is quite true to say that a vocation comes from above, but God‟s designs can be hindered or helped by His creatures, and He has ever made use of secondary agents in their execution. The formation of character and the direction of the steps of the young towards the Sanctuary is largely in the hands of parents and teachers; how many a happy priest and nun daily thank their Maker for the gift of a good mother, who first sowed the seeds of a vocation in their childish heart. ( Mrs. Vaughan, mother of the Cardinal, spent an hour each evening, for twenty years, praying that all her children might be religious. Her five daughters entered convents, and six out of the eight sons became priests; the remaining two entered a seminary, but found they were not suited for the life—Life of Cardinal Vaughan.). Fathers and mothers constantly put before their children the various callings and professions of life to help them in their choice; is the grandest life of all, the service of the King of Kings, the battling for precious souls, and the extension of Christ‟s Kingdom, to be ignored and never spoken of? The saints realised that God looked to them to aid Him in the work of fostering vocations. St. Jerome writes thus to Heliodorus: “I invite you, make haste. You have made light of my entreaties; perhaps you will listen to my reproaches. Effeminate soldier! What are you doing under the paternal roof? Hasten to enlist under the banner of Christ.”
Endless harm has been done by well-meaning people, who, under pretext of “trying a vocation,” keep their children from entering a religious house for years. They urge that getting “to know the world” will develop their faculties and enable them to understand their own mind better; that such a process will broaden their views and help them to judge things at their proper value; finally, that a vocation which cannot stand such a trial, the buffeting of dangerous temptations, and the seductive allurements of worldly pleasure, to which it has been unnecessarily exposed, is no vocation and had far better be abandoned.
“Is the world the place for testing a vocation?” asks St. Vincent de Paul. “Let the soul hasten as fast as possible to a secure asylum.” The Church, realising well the necessity of such a trial, prescribes at least a year of probation in every novitiate before admitting candidates to the religious profession. There, safe from the contagious atmosphere of a corrupt world, with abundant time for prayer and thought, with liberty to remain or leave at will, each one can test for himself the sincerity of the desire he felt to abandon all things and follow Christ, before he binds himself irrevocably by his vows. “One could not give a more pernicious counsel than this” writes Father Lessius “What is it in reality except to desire to extinguish the interior spirit, under the pretext of a trial, and to expose to the tempests of temptation him who was preparing to gain the port of safety ? If a gardener were to plant a precious seed, requiring great care, in stony ground, covered with thorns; if he exposed it to the rays of the sun and every change of climate to try would it grow in that unfavourable spot, who would not look upon him as a fool? Those who advise people called to religious life to remain, for a while, in the world have even less sense. A vocation is a divine inspiration; it is a seed fallen upon the earth to bear fruit for eternal life. It is planted in the human heart, a soil little suited to its nature, and requires great care and attention. Watch must be kept that the birds of the air, the demons, do not carry it away; that thorns, the concupiscences and solicitudes of the world, do not choke it ; that men with their false maxims should not trample it under foot. Whosoever wishes to preserve and see grow in his heart the seed which the Divine Sower has cast there, ought to fly from the world and reach a safe refuge as soon as possible.”
It might be too early to tell if you’re having too many doubts. That being said, it is not necessary to be completely doubt free to enter seminary. Continue to pray in silence and in front of the Blessed Sacrament and also find a spiritual director, as it has already been suggested.
You can’t know for sure. One does not not actually know he will be a priest until he is ordained. Discernment is continued throughout seminary.
I don’t know if there are any rules against having a job while being a priest, but to me, at least, it would be out of the question if I were to become a priest, and I imagine it would be for most priests. First of all, most, if not all, are busy enough as it is. Next, it would detract from your ability to devote yourself completely to the Church and your duties.
Hi 300 WhiteKnights. I would not worry too much about not being really good with people or your other self-doubts. You are 17 and some of these things are a matter of continued maturation. It seems to me that wanting to be a priest is a theme in your life and one that should be attended to. I agree with those who suggest you get a spiritual director to assist you in your development of spirituality. Even if you determine that the priesthood is not what you are being called to, this effort will not be wasted. Continue in prayer and frequently as possible go to Mass and the sacraments. Ask Jesus to guide you. In the meantime, be as active as possible in your youth group at church or (soon) at college. Volunteer in community outreach projects where you are likely to meet a variety of people. Be as open and loving as you can be to people you meet in this way. Develop friendships with young men and women and be joyful in these relationships. I will pray for your discernment as often as I remember (gotta say, I am pretty old and my forgetter works overtime these days :)). God bless you.