How Do You Know if You’re Called to Be a Priest?

You Gotta Ask God The Right Questions

In high school I really stressed about entering the seminary. I asked this priest, “How do you KNOW if you’re called to be a priest or not?” What I really wanted was some step-by-step Buzzfeed-esque test to figure it all out for me. The priest just looked at me and shrugged. “I dunno. You have to talk to God to see where He’s calling you.”

Gee, thanks.

Following God is hard work. We seek answers, but so often we aren’t willing to give Him time to speak. If we do, we think one bad time in prayer or one really good one can mean we’re supposed to sell everything we own and go live in the mountains.

It’s more important to be faithful and trust than to have all the answers.

Maybe we shouldn’t be focusing on how do I know if I’m supposed to be a priest or not. Maybe the question should be, “Lord, are you calling me to spend time discerning in seminary?” That’s a much different question; half of my seminary classmates are priests, the others are happily married husbands, and they learned what God desired for them by showing up in prayer each day in seminary.

How about being even more specific: “Lord, what is it that you desire for me? How can I serve you today?” If we focus on today, this week, remain faithful and trust, we give God room to help us see the greater picture. “Yeah, I do want you to do this. I want you to keep trusting in Me.”

Some Direct Pointers

  1. If you’re asking, “How do I know?” it means you’ve at least thought about priesthood. Great! Now what are you doing about it? Are you living daily for Christ?
  2. Pray daily. And not about becoming a priest – pray about how to follow Jesus with your whole heart. If you’re listening, it will become clear where the Lord is leading you. Also, don’t be afraid to open up to some faithful people you trust.
  3. Visit the seminary and speak to your vocation director. (St. Louis, that’s Fr. Martin and me). Our goal is to help people follow God’s plan for them, not to fill the seminary with a bunch of guys that aren’t meant to be there.
  4. Most importantly, remember what God says to us: “For I know well the plans I have in mind for you…plans for your welfare and not for woe, so as to give you a future of hope” (Jeremiah 29:11).

So be faithful and trust. It worked for me—and still does.

God will help you get to where you need to be. We’re praying for you along the Way!

Written by Fr. Brian Fallon
Reverend Brian S. Fallon was ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of St. Louis in 2012. He was appointed the assistant director of vocations in June of 2015. He tries his best to stay caffeinated and follow Jesus.