You know you’re called to be a priest when…

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A young man discerning his future wrote me to ask a question: “How do you know you are called to the priesthood.”

Good question. Instead of giving him general information about priesthood, I prayed before the Lord and the Blessed Sacrament. Here’s what I came away with.

You know you are called to the priesthood when you want to be not just another guy but an ambassador of Christ. You know you want to be a priest when you have been driven to your knees like Saint Peter and have seen Christ’s holiness and your sinfulness. When you both cry out to God to depart from you for you are a sinful man, and, like Saint Peter you say to Christ, “ You know I love you.”

You know you are called to be a priest when you see marriage as amazing and beautiful, and priestly celibacy as a mystical union with Christ’s bride, the church, which you love so much you would give your life for her.

You are called to the priesthood when you hear the words of consecration, “This is my body” and “This is my blood given up for you,” and you know the deep desire to be a sacrificial victim offered up for others.

You know you are called to be a priest when you see that the priesthood is best illumined in the fires of suffering.

You are called to be a priest when you have failed, fallen and forsaken the Lord and yet each time you realize you are a fool to betray him whom you love and so you thank him for again receiving you back.

You are called to be a priest when you pray not from obligation, but because you must. You are called to be a priest when you know you are not your own.

You are called to be a priest when you see poverty of spirit as more valuable than the spirit of the world.

You are called to be a priest when you realize everyone carries a burden and so you are gentle — not judgmental. All you want is to share Christ with them. You are called to be a priest when you hear Jesus say to you, “I died for them, will you?”

You are called to be a priest when you realize that listening is more important than talking, and silence feeds the soul.

You are called to be a priest when you don’t take yourself so seriously and therefore can take God seriously.

You know you are called to be a priest when you realize that your hands will hold your Savior and your Lord and you will never be good enough to earn this gift, or knowledgeable enough to understand this great privilege. All you can do is bow before the Savior and give yourself to him.

You know you are called to be a priest when you are willing to be taught by God, your bishop and your parishioners, and you rejoice when you have to change.

You know you are called to be a priest when you finally say, “Yes,” and respond to Jesus by giving up your life for your flock just like he did on the cross.

Priesthood is a call from God — not a profession or job or ministry. It is the invitation of God when he inflames a life so as to be one of his priests.

You know you are called to be a priest when you push through your unworthiness or worthiness, weakness or gifts, your sins and your successes and finally realize your desire to give everything away, holding nothing back, because God has chosen you for this work.

To inquire about a vocation to the priesthood, contact Father Arthur Roraff, director of vocations for the Anchorage Archdiocese, at (907) 694-2170

The writer is pastor of the Church of the Nativity in Magadan, Russia.


'You know you’re called to be a priest when…' have 1 comment

  1. August 2018 @ 1:34 pm Deacon Dan Winters

    Very true.
    Amen!

    Reply


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