Discerning the Call to the Priesthood
Discernment is the process of discovering God's will for you. Keep in mind as you begin this process of discernment, that both you and God desire the same thing: your happiness. Jesus wants what is best for you. He wants to lead you to a decision about your life that will bring you the deep joy that comes with following Him.
Steps for Hearing God's Call
It is only when a young man has had a real and personal encounter with Jesus Christ that he can truly begin to understand the Lord’s will for his life. Vocational discernment is not a “navel-gazing, self-centered, psychological exercise.” It is not merely self-reflection or introspection. Discernment is a personal encounter with the person of Christ and a gradual realization of His will. It may be the peace in the presence of the Eucharist, joy during the celebration of the Mass, the mercy of confession, or the generosity of a pastor where you find this personal encounter with Christ. You must then have an openness of heart and a willingness to say ‘yes’ to where He is leading you.
Develop a Daily Prayer Life
Finding time for silence and prayer is essential to growing in intimacy with the Lord. It is also essential for discernment! We easily recognize the voice of our loved ones, because of how often we spend time with them. The same is true for our relationship with Jesus – the more we spend time with Him in prayer, the easier it is for us to hear Him speaking to our hearts. Stay faithful to a daily prayer life centered on the Eucharist.
Knowing God’s Will
God’s will for you is not something far away and distant. It is not a secret puzzle to be solved. God’s will is found in your own deepest desires when you are closest to Christ! God speaks to us through our own desires. But we must remain in Christ and continually ask Him to purify our desires. Talking to a priest or spiritual director can be helpful for sorting through the many desires of your heart.
Desiring God’s Will
Sincerely seeking God’s will includes enkindling your desire to follow His will. You must be willing to surrender your will to His. This is a requirement for good discernment, and it takes patience and trust in God. You must trust that the Father wants what’s best for you. Peace is found in the Heart of Jesus and fears are from the evil one.
How will I know?
So, you have spent all this time in prayer and have built a life centered on Jesus through His Church, but you still are not sure if Jesus is calling you to be His priest. Of course, you are still unsure! Maybe you are afraid that He is truly calling you to give up everything and follow Him? Perhaps you feel unworthy or think you are better off as a husband and father, as this is often the case with men who become priests. You need to learn more.
Is Jesus Calling You?