Too unworthy of becoming a priest?


#1

If a teenager does not look like a man of prayer and does not look like Christ, how could he possibly become a priest?

He is never confident of talking about Faith to his friends and family as he thinks he is bringing disgrace to Jesus. And consequently he never has the courage to put on the Roman cassock or clerical attire - not even clothes for seminarians. He is afraid of odd gazes from neighbours and friends (who are largely non-Catholics) were he to become a priest. He is always devoid of the courage and public speaking skills quintessential to preaching.

He looks smart, but in reality he has little talent in Physics and Maths though he scored well in SAT Subject Tests. He loves reading. He has subscribed to The Economist and reads the Wall Street Journal or New York Times when time allows (though he’s not doing anything related to Finance in college). He is interested in Latin and Greek, but the mere idea of a solid formation in the Classics, Philosophy and Theology scares him off - how could a person boast of ‘knowing’ these profound subjects in a decade? He is also very interested in English Literature and German (for reading Theology), but again how could he have sufficient time for that given the tight seminary curriculum?

He is short and not handsome. He is not very sociable or charismatic. He knows no sports. He looks like a baby more than a teenager at the age of 21. He simply is immature and doesn’t look like an adult. He has an ugly voice incompatible with that of a charming man.

He tends to be judgmental - in short, he is not a pious, virtuous living saint who radiates the glamour of Christ. He is too proud and reliant on his limited intellectual capacity. He might be jealous of virtuous priests for absurd reasons. He feels embarrassed by holy priests since he is not doing his job well enough.

He is lazy and absent-minded. He loves Youtube and Facebook. He loves listening to Bach’s organ music or watching Tridentine Mass videos more than Lady Gaga or pop music though. He loves History documentaries or Discovery channel videos.

Most importantly, he is really afraid of letting God lead him to an unknown future despite a faint kindling desire to know his future. A few weeks ago he still felt ‘dismayed’ with the idea that God might grant him Matrimony instead of Priesthood (though rationally he knew both were of no difference in the road towards sanctity: All Christians - in fact all people in general and all Catholics in particular - are called to love God; it is the pursuit of love of God but not the means that really matters. In fact Priesthood to him means an even more drastic change of life.) - were him to have the liberty to choose among Vocations he would opt for Priesthood (although he didn’t know how this idea came about). BUT then this desire has transformed into some sort of fear.

He is not really open to God now.

He begins to question.

‘Aren’t priests Elmer Gantry - hypocrites who make a living by speaking nonsense garbage? Aren’t priests the real ‘losers’ in the society, who have no professional skills to serve and depend solely on merciful donations of the easily beguiled faithful?’

How could such a complicated boy of little humility and holiness become a priest?


#2

I don’t think anyone is worthy to become a priest. To become a priest is to become an "Alter Christus’–“Another Christ”, thus, no one is worthy of such a thing. The priest says “this is my body”, not this is Jesus’ body. If Mary, the Mediatrix of Graces, were in front of me, along with every holy angel, none of them could absolve me from my sins. But a simple parish priest could do so. So, to become a priest is for the salvation of others, not merely ourselves.

I think priests don’t really have to be smart at all, or funny or talented. Think of one of the best priests in history, St John Vianney (patron of priests), who was not intellectually smart, but since it was God’s will, he became a priest, and saved so many souls that on the day of judgement, we will see how many souls were saved in Ars, France.
Or St Pio, who got a very small education, but somehow knew the sins of his penitents.

If someone isn’t holy, it’s Christ who makes us holy. Everything we have that’s good, whether morally or intellectually, or physically, is all from God. It’s all Christ who does this, but Christ doesn’t cause us to sin, that’s all us.
Therefore, all that man can do is accept the grace of Christ or sin. If we haven’t, and I certainly haven’t in the past, we only have now. If we are called to be priest, we should already be reaching a high point of sanctity, but if not already, start now, as what we did in the past cannot be reversed, but absolved and redeemed.

I don’t know you to say if you should be a priest, but if Christ wants this of you, don’t worry about it, as he will provide the necessary things for you to be one.
I also like watching Tridentine Masses on youtube :D, and the ancient Mass is beautiful, but I hate it when I see sedevacantist/SSPX material in the recommended list of videos.

From the Catechism of St. Pius X:

12 Q. What should be done to find out whether God calls us to the ecclesiastical state?
A. To find out if God calls us to the ecclesiastical state we should: (1) Fervently pray the Lord to make known His will to us; (2) Consult our Bishop or a learned and prudent director; (3) Diligently examine whether we have the capacity necessary for the studies, the duties, and the obligations of this state.

All the best,

Andrew


#3

PraiseChrist is exactly right. NONE of us can ever hope to worthy to serve Him.

None the less, he calls many to do so.

“God doesn’t call the qualified, he qualifies the called”.

Do you think big dumb oafish fisherman Peter was originally worthy to the first Pope? The man who Christ called “Satan” (get behind me Satan) and who denied Christ three times even had only shortly before swore to Christ’s face he would never do so?

The time spent in seminary is called “formation” for a very good reason. Being “formed” is uncomfortable. Be uncomfortable.


#4

As was said, **nobody **is holy enough for the priesthood.

But one needs to be willing to be made that holy.

ICXC NIKA


#5

Sounds to me like the kind of priest that can really relate to the average person.


#6

Oh … why say so? Why do you think so? Isn’t it that he looks like a geek when he knows no music nor sports and loves reading just too much?


#7

I wouldn’t think that a priest should need to be fond of music (of the popular type) nor of sports; the Church takes all kinds.

One does not need an alpha-male body, nor handsomeness, nor even a “good voice” to be a priest. I’ve known priests who have none of them. What is needed is to love God and His Church.

And yes, that does mean lifting one’s head out of the printed page to see those around him.

ICXC NIKA


#8

I don’t know how much music or sports Padre Pio or St. John Vianney did–they were too busy hearing confessions :smiley: Goes to show that priests aren’t talent show actors

And St. John Bosco, when he was a teenager, was constantly found reading catholic spiritual books, to study for the priesthood. He was made fun of for studying Latin by his older brother, so studying pious books zealously isn’t a bad thing, but a great thing to do.


#9

Priests are either offering Mass, hearing confessions, administering to the sick, praying, reciting their Liturgy of the Hours, ect. Not playing sports or playing music. The only time they do those things is when they have some recreation (like everyone) or sing/chant during Mass (not nearly as important as offering Mass with reverence).

Besides, Gregorian Chant is taught at seminary :smiley:
fsspolgs.org/liturgical3.html


#10

Everybody has a gift. Maybe problem-solving, or listening, or praying for others. What is yours?

Music and sports are for musicians and athletes.

As another poster said, Sts. Vianney and Pio didn’t concern themselves with things of the world when listening to hours of confession.


#11

Maybe have a frank discussion with a priest in real life.
Many would be surprised to hear their story of their calling, and how they view themselves.
Ask a real priest.


#12

I’ve heard this several times during my aspirancy year. One of my formentors said that any man that comes to candidacy thinking he’s is worthy is likely the wrong man for orders. As we are formed we look into ourselves and find just how unworthy any of us are to server Christ. And yet still he calls.

Even if I am called to ordination in 4 years I doubt I will feel worthy of that call, but what I am comming to understand is that it is not about worthiness and rather a matter of saying “yes, Lord, lead and I shall follow”.

To the OP, talk to priest and you will find some are smart, some are cantankerous, some may be aloof, other may be quiet and still others bold. What you will not find is a man who is perfect. God calls each man for His own reasons. If it is a true calling God will provide the graces to form you to be what He needs.

Part of formation is to discern if a man has a calling. This discernment goes both ways. The man and the Church both weigh if a man is called. Most formentors will be brutally honest if they perceive a flaw that could be detrimental to ministry. The flaws can be knocked down and the rough patches smoothed out, but it is never with an eye to make a man perfect. If you think you have a calling all you can do is say “yes, Lord, lead me”. At worst you or the Church will discern you aren’t called, but you will never know if you don’t stride forward to answer.


#13

sigh. I am just wondering who has the right to make all these judgements. Only God know the hearts of men. Or are you speaking of yourself? Just wondering. Peace.


#14

If you want to read more for interest, read this catechism chapter from the Little catechism of st john vianney:
ewtn.com/library/CATECHSM/CATARS.HTM
Scroll down to ch 9 for what he has to say about priests

You say you like to read, here’s a link from the Our Lady of Guadalupe seminary (FSSP, Latin Mass priestly society in communion with the Pope) on spiritual books to read for discernment, scroll down to the bottom:

fsspolgs.org/faq.html

As pianistclare said, someone face to face will help more than online


closed #15

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