Thursday, August 6, 2009


When I first went to college I started a major in music, switched to business, switched to psychology, switched to manual communications (and almost graduated), switched to . . . well, you get the idea. It was a wonderful opportunity to look into things (and none of the skills learned in any of these areas were left to atrophy in my current vocation.) I never felt that once I entered into one of these majors that I would be trapped and forced to commit once in the doors.

For some reason though people have the idea that this is the case for priestly vocations. “Going to the seminary” sounds like a done deal. The men in the seminary have not made any more of an absolute commitment to being a priest than I did as a new psychology or music major. Entering the doors of the seminary is a discernment process. You are going there to see if it fits, if indeed this is that to which God is calling you. And like all the majors I explored before priesthood are not wasted in my current vocation, a man’s experience in the seminary will serve him for the rest of his life. He will learn more about his faith, be given an intense opportunity to grow in his relationship with God, he will be exposed to learning, opportunities, and experiences that most people are not.

The Church in general also benefits. These men become laymen who are unusually well versed in the faith. They may be catechists or heavily involved in the parish or diocesan life in some other way – or be a writer – or just a promoter of the faith in whatever vocation to which they are eventually called. And, as I have often said to a man leaving the seminary, “Raise up many worthy sons who will become priests!” In this the culture for vocations grows.

If you are considering a priestly or religious vocation, do not be afraid to investigate! (Right Adoro? Kay?) If this is too much for you most places also have less “threatening” ways for you to explore vocations such as vocation visits or weekend or week long retreats. But please do not simply ignore the calling. I’ve met far too many men in the confessional who have ignored their calling and later regret it. If you are single and Catholic you owe it to yourself let alone God (for if it is what you are called to, only it will make you truly happy!) to explore whether you have a calling to priestly or religious life.

Saint John Marie Vianney, ora pro nobis,


Adoro said...

Right, Father V.!

Soutenus said...

A great post!

Michelle said...

And if you are a Catholic man and not single? You might consider the permanent diaconate! And any adult Catholic might consider being an associate of a religious order.

Lots of ways to help foster an atmosphere in which vocations of all sorts can flourish!