I suppose I'm directing my question especially to those of you are are discerning, or already discerned, a call to the priesthood.
I've had what I can only describe as powerful and unusual experiences lately that have left me with a lot of confusion and fascination. I'd appreciate anyone's insight about these things.
First of all, I am blessed to have had more than one experience of "sensing" the Lord in a real, life-changing way, during prayer. I gather these experiences are like what we call Conversion experiences or what our fundementalist friends would call being "born again."
I was raised Catholic and though I wandered away, I never turned against the Church.
Earlier this year, I returned to the Church fully- Sacraments and all. It started with an overwhelming pull on my heart that got me back to Mass. After my first confession in many years, I was energized and started soaking up books about the Church and the Bible as fast as I could. I began to pray more and more as well. I started attending Mass at least twice a week.
At this point I began to experience a fascination with the priesthood. At Mass, I would be more and more amazed by what is happening on the altar. I felt like I was noticing every detail about our priests: how they dress, how they behave, how people interact with them, etc. I realized, while sitting down for coffee with my priest one night, I wasn't just seeking his advice but I was curious about his work, his life and activities.
One night, the vocational film "Fishers of Men" came on after a program I was watching had ended. I couldn't take my eyes off the screen. I had butterflies in my stomach. I fought back tears through half of it. I found myself thinking, if I was a young man I would speak to a vocations director. Say what?!
In the months that followed, my prayer and reading continued. I kept feeling like God wanted me to do something but I couldn't imagine what. Because of my age and my situation, I don't consider myself to be priest material!
Following a novena to the Holy Spirit, I experienced a week during which almost any prayer, hymn, or thought of Christ would bring on intense crying and sobbing. It was dfficult to be at Mass and keep it together. I accept that experience as a true blessing but I still felt clueless about any calling or path.
I almost always go to Mass on my day off (in addition to Sunday) because I "miss" the Blessed Sacrament.
Does any of this sound familiar to you guys? Or have I lost my mind?
Thank you for reading this very long first post!
Thanks be to God.