Becoming a priest or a man or woman religious is not primarily our own decision… Rather, it is the response to a call and to a call of love. – Pope Francis
WHAT IS A VOCATION?
The word “vocation” comes from the Latin “vocare,” meaning “to call”. We are all called by God to make a gift of ourselves for God’s glory and the salvation of souls. Our vocation is that path to holiness. Some are called to the vocation of marriage, some to consecrated life, and others to the priesthood and/or religious life.
WHAT IS DISCERNMENT?
Discernment is prayerfully seeking God’s will in your life. It takes time, patience and a willing heart, humility and trust that God does indeed want what is best for you.
HOW WILL I KNOW?
Most of us who have ever wondered if the vocation to priesthood or religious life was for us must have asked the question, “how will I know?” The answer comes in many forms.
- “What is God’s will in my life?”
- “How do I find happiness and fulfillment in my life?”
- “What is the ultimate purpose of my existence?”
- “How will I know that God is calling me to live the religious life as a priest, brother, or sister?”
You must pray every day, asking God to reveal His plan for you. Do not ask yourself, “What do I want to do with my life?” This is the wrong question! Rather, you should be thinking and asking, “Jesus what do you want me to be? How do you want me to love You?” And listen for the answer! Listen with your heart, not just your head.
KEYS FOR DISCERNMENT
- Attend daily Mass as often as you can.
- Read and meditate on Scripture.
- Pray the Rosary, asking Mary to guide you.
- Go to Confession frequently and consistently.
- Daily prayer & silence: Often, surface noises – the distractions around us and within us – drown out God’s voice. Make a commitment to set aside quiet time each day for prayer to help move away from the distractions.
- Eucharistic Adoration
SPIRITUAL DIRECTION AND SUPPORT
- Talk to a priest or consecrated religious about your questions and concerns.
- Seek a holy Spiritual Director (ask people you trust, such as your parish priest, for recommendations).
- Build holy friendships.
- Read the lives of the Saints.
EXPLORE THE POSSIBILITIES
- Speak to Vocation Directors.
- Attend discernment retreats.
- Read books on discernment.
- Research online resources.
- Serve the poor.
Above all, place yourself in the hands of God and ask for His help to lead you on this journey. Do not be afraid . . . nobody discerns a vocation in the Church alone! Talk to a priest, seek the assistance of a good spiritual director, and as you move forward on your journey of discernment, vocation directors will also be able to assist you in uncovering God’s will for you.
Help bring that call into focus by praying about it, and listening for God’s response. As you think about whether or not you should be a priest, questions you might ask yourself include:
- Am I willing to serve God with a generous heart?
- Am I trying to deepen my relationship with God through prayer?
- Is my life as fulfilling as it could be?
- When I hear the Word of God, do I want to share it with others?
- Can I live my life without worldly things like fame, pleasure, and wealth?
- Is the desire to be a priest something that I keep hearing in my heart over and over again?
- Do I have a deep love and reverence for the Holy Eucharist?
- Have others encouraged me to consider the priesthood?
- Are there priests whom I greatly admire?
- Do I know holy priests I can talk to about becoming a priest?
In vocational discernment, it is important to become involved in your parish, attend Mass frequently, receive the Sacraments, read the Bible and other spiritual resources regularly, learn about Church history and the teachings of the faith, and try to live a good, moral Christian life.
It is helpful to talk with a priest about the questions and concerns you have about discerning the priesthood. When you do, ask specifically about his experiences and what made him want to become a priest. Additionally, it can be very helpful to talk to your parents, youth/young adult minister, teacher, school counselor, a friend or a family member.
Also, it’s a good idea to find someone who can be your spiritual director, and for the two of you to meet on a regular basis. The purpose of a spiritual director is to help you better understand where God is leading you in your life.
After speaking with a priest or a spiritual director, you may want to arrange a personal meeting with the Vocations Director to learn more about the priesthood and what is involved in becoming a priest. Also, you may be invited to attend discussion groups, retreats, and other activities sponsored by the Vocations Office. Find out how you can get involved in vocations sponsored events and spend time with seminarians and other men who are discerning.
For more information, please visit www.dsj.org/about-us/vocations/vocations-office/vocation-faqs or contact Father Ritche Bueza, Diocesan Vocations Director at (408) 983-0255.
Diocese of San José – Prayer for Vocations
We earnestly beg You
Continuously call our young people
Strengthen them with the support of their parents,
May the ever Blessed Virgin Mary,
We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Saint Joseph, Patron of our Diocese, pray for us!