What does it mean to be "called" to the priesthood?

It seems to me that “being called” to a vocation usually equates to just wanting to do it. If not, what’s the difference?

Someone once said, unhelpfully, but accurately, that if you can describe a calling you haven’t got one! It’s more than a decision - I didn’t just wake up one day and, because it was Tuesday, decided to do this. It’s also more than just an interest or attraction and, most importantly, it’s not just about what I want or think. A vocation has to be recognised by others - obviously those responsible for sending candidates to the seminary or similar, but it’s also often the case that others see a person as being called, recognising in them the signs of attraction and the qualities for priesthood even if the person doesn’t see these themselves.


Sometimes people want to do things for the wrong reasons.

People get married for the wrong reasons. It happens a lot. They still want to get married, but for the wrong reason. Maybe even in a Catholic marriage there is grounds for annulment.

So there is one reason that a vocation is not just based on what someone wants to do.

Someone said somewhere, that it is like a voice that you hear, but you can’t quite make out yet. You keep listening, trying to get close enough to hear what is being said. And then one day, you hear what is being said, and you have to decide.

I guess what I’m struggling to understand is how a calling to a vocation is any different than a calling in other parts of life. If someone wants to be a pro athlete and they have the skills and eventually become one, does that mean they were called to it? Or in the Catholic Church is a calling more than that?

That’s an occupation not a vocation. A vocation deals with your state in life. Vocations are marriage, consecrated religious, holy orders, etc.


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