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Are You Called to Religious Life? (Men)

Return to Priests & Vocations Section | Religious Life for Women

St. John Vianney, the Curé D'Ars (patron saint of priests)

Men: 

Are You Called to Religious Life?

Sources: Various

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Note: This page is for men. Women, please click here.


  

"As Jesus passed on from there, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the customs post. He said to him, 'Follow me.' And he got up and followed him." (Mt. 9:9)

  


Do You Suspect That God Might Be Calling You to the Priesthood or Religious Life? 

Although everyone has a vocation in life (for most men, their vocation is marriage), God gives a higher calling to some men. Although God does not force anyone to respond to His calling, He may invite them in a variety of ways.

When one feels called, discovering whether or not one truly has a vocation to the priesthood or religious life ("discernment") may or may not be a difficult process. Even if one does not have a vocation, the discernment process may benefit the candidate by helping him to learn more about himself.

Although God's choice of who to call is mysterious, there are some clear signs that one may or may not have a vocation. If you suspect that you might have a calling to the priesthood or religious life, you should pray a great deal and engage in appropriate introspection. You should also seek guidance from the Church and follow the appropriate, required steps.

For your convenience, we have included a short list of some "positive" and "negative" signs as well as some "introspection questions" and "words of advice". We hope you might find them helpful.

God bless you!

"O Lord, grant unto Thy Church saintly priests and fervent religious." (Raccolta)

Note: For convenience, we have used the terms "priesthood" and "religious life" separately herein. However, strictly speaking, the "religious life" for men may include the priesthood. 

Some "Positive" And "Negative" Signs

First, let's start with the basics...

"Positive Signs" May Include...

"Negative Signs" May Include...

You have great love for the Lord.

You are lukewarm in your love for God.

You have a great love for others.

You find it difficult to love others.

You have a great zeal for Christ, the Church, and souls.

You have little zeal for Christ, the Church, and souls.

Your faith is very important to you.

Your faith is not all that important to you.

You love prayer.

You do not love prayer.

You love the Sacraments.

You do not love the Sacraments.

You are able to exercise self-control.

You are unable to exercise self-control.

You are certain that you can remain celibate/chaste until death.

You are certain that you could not remain celibate/chaste until death.

Other important qualities:

* You are not married (except where allowed).

* You have no physical or other impediments.

* You have good "people skills".

* You are emotionally stable.

* You have an appropriate level of intelligence.

* You are striving to live a virtuous life.

* You desire to serve others.

* You love the Blessed Virgin Mary.

* You are an orthodox, practicing Catholic.

* You are reliable.

* You are mature.

* You are psychologically stable.

* You are not homosexual.

* You have good manners.

* You have good hygiene and a neat physical appearance.

* You get along well with others.

* You are able to handle being alone.

* You have good conversational skills and speak English well (in English speaking countries).

* You are willing to talk about your faith.

* You have an appropriate level of education.

* You are willing to sacrifice material gain.

* You have received all appropriate Sacraments (Baptism, Confirmation, Penance, Holy Eucharist).

* You feel an attraction to the priesthood or religious life ("an attraction may be a sign, but it does not guarantee a vocation").

* You have a proper motive.

Note to older males: It should be noted that one can become a priest later in life if there is no impediment.

Some "Introspection Questions"

Next, consider pondering questions such as those below. It is important to be honest with yourself and to try to get to know yourself better. You should also pray for guidance before engaging in introspection.

Question

Why am I attracted to the priesthood / religious life?

What attracts me to this life?

How strong is this attraction?

Do I really desire to serve God and others?

What brings me the most happiness / joy?

What are my strengths?

What are my weaknesses?

What are my goals?

What makes me think I might have a calling?

In what concrete ways have I manifested my desire to serve others?

In what concrete ways have I shown that I am able to sacrifice myself for God and others?

How long have I suspected I might have a vocation and what was the first indication?

What gifts do I have?

Do I really love prayer and the Sacraments?

Am I good with people?

Do I really know my faith well?

How do I handle "alone time"?

In what ways is my present life compatible with the priesthood or religious life?

In what ways is my present life incompatible with the priesthood or religious life?

How well do I handle stressful situations?

When do I feel most at peace?

In what areas of my life have I been most successful?

In what areas of my life have I been least successful?

What social skills do I have?

What social skills do I lack?

In what ways have I manifested my concern for others' souls? 

What will be required of me to honor the necessary vows I must take?

Will it be possible for me to honor all required vows until death?

Do I think I would make a good priest or religious?

Do others think I would make a good priest or religious?

What specific behaviors have I demonstrated that support a call to the religious life?

How well do I get along with others? Do I get along well with all ages and classes and races of persons?

Do I have a proper motive? Am I trying to run away from something? Am I being pressured into it? Am I trying to please parents or others? Am I "on the rebound" from a romantic relationship? Am I considering the priesthood because "nothing else has worked out"? Am I interested in the priesthood because of the status or for financial reasons? Am I considering the priesthood because I feel I "owe it" to God or because I promised God I would if He did something for me?

Have I considered other vocations in the Church besides the priesthood (e.g. religious brother)? If so, am I still interested in them? If not, what turned me away from them?

What is causing me to consider the priesthood or religious life at this particular stage in my life?

Am I prepared for the great efforts and great sacrifices I will be called upon to make?

Do I desire this life?

Am I really prepared to make this life-long commitment?

Some Words of Advice

Finally, if you are considering the priesthood or religious life, consider the following words of advice.

* Be sure to seek guidance from a trusted priest or spiritual director.

* Be sure to contact your parish / diocese for guidance and other assistance. You may also be able to contact communities directly, but be sure to follow the proper procedures.

* Take advantage of all appropriate resources the parish / diocese / religious community may have to offer. You may wish to also consider any online resources.

* Do not neglect daily prayer. In fact, pray as much as possible (especially ask for guidance and courage). Some helpful scriptural prayers may include: "Speak, for your servant is listening" (1 Sam. 3:10) and "What shall I do, Lord?" (Acts 22:10). Also, be sure you 'listen' to God.

* Learn as much as possible about the life you are considering and about the communities you may be interested in. If possible, spend some time with members of the communities you are interested in (e.g. on retreats, events, etc.) 

* Remember that just because you make inquiries or take steps towards the priesthood, such actions do not commit you or mean that you will eventually receive Holy Orders.

* Be willing to follow God's will. Be careful not to put your will in place of God's.

* Be prepared if you meet opposition. It should be noted that in this difficult time in the Church's history, unfortunately, many orthodox candidates for the priesthood have been turned away. If you are a good, orthodox candidate, you may expect to meet with such resistance. If you are unaware of this sad situation, you should examine the well-documented writings out there concerning this matter and then consider ways to nobly meet with such resistance.

* Always trust in God and in His love for you.

Also See:

The Calling to Religious Life (Reflections)

Priests / Priesthood (Reflections)

Religious / Religious Life / Religious Institutes (Reflections)

Seminaries / Seminarians / Training / Formation (Reflections)

Candidates (Reflections)

Duties & Responsibilities of Priests (Reflections)

Fostering Vocations (Reflections)

Celibacy / Chastity (Reflections)

Virgins / Virginity (Reflections)

Vows (Reflections)

More Priests & Vocations Reflections  

More Reflections

Misc. Priests / Vocations Facts

Prayers for Priests / Vocations

Why Priestly Celibacy?

Religious Institutes For Men 

The Religious Life For Women

Top Reasons Why Women Can't Be Priests

Holy Orders (Topical Scripture)

Priest (Topical Scripture)

More Topical Scripture

Sacraments Section

Vatican View Section

Latin Mass & Catholic Tradition

Church Talk: 'Favorite Roman Catholic Churches'

Catholic Web Links

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