Discerning the Call: College Students
How can I know what God’s will for me is?
As with any relationship, we can’t know what the ‘other’ is thinking unless we communicate with them, and we talk to God through prayer. The best way to find out His will is to ask Him for it. That means adoration, Daily Mass, praying the Rosary, going to Confession regularly, etc. And find a good priest you are comfortable talking to (they will listen) and tell him what you’re thinking about. If seminary and the priesthood is where God wants you to be, then staying connected to Him and the Church is the only way you’ll ever know.
Do I want to be a Priest, or does God want me to be?
We all have goals, ambitions, and ideals. Sometimes people are attracted to the priesthood, because they see power, authority, and prestige. The priesthood, though, is a life of humility and service. If God is calling you, you need to listen. But if He’s not, that’s okay, too. Whatever you do in life should be God’s will, not your own. Our own wills tend to lead into trouble, but God’s will is always best.
What if I haven’t always lived a Catholic life?
St. Augustine had an affair for fourteen years; St. Paul persecuted the early Church, and St. Ignatius tried to kill himself! All these men, and so many others in Church history, were great sinners, and look at the saints they became. God calls all kinds of people to the priesthood. Look at the Apostles. They were poor fisherman. Everyone is a sinner, and that includes priests and seminarians. No matter what has happened in our pasts, God can overcome all and change our lives.
Am I holy enough to do this?
This question comes from the notion that seminarians are mindless workers who spend all their time studying or praying. That is crazy. College seminaries are houses of prayer and study, sure, but they are college dorms too. No one expects someone to be a saint when they enter seminary, and becoming a seminarian doesn’t mean, “No more fun for the rest of my life.” Most seminarians have a blast, and in seminary, you will grow with some great men who will be life-long friends.
Is celibacy even possible?
Do not think you are sinning if you like girls! And just because you may have had girlfriends doesn’t mean you can’t be a priest. We are looking for normal, healthy, heterosexual men. Our sexuality helps define us as men, and by forsaking marriage we can better live out the life of Jesus. People always think celibacy is some negative setback, but in reality it is a positive. Celibacy is a freedom, not a restriction. It allows us to live our lives totally in God’s service, and while it is not easy, every priest will tell you of the great joys of life they have.
What would I be studying, and could I continue to pursue my current major?
In College Seminary, students have the opportunity to study philosophy, which is necessary to study before understanding the theology one studies after college. One would study classic, medieval and modern philosophy, as well as the major figures during each time, from Plato to Aquinas to Descartes. These studies focus on human nature, the origins of existence, what ‘things’ are, who God Is, etc.
If you transfer to the seminary from another college, don’t think you have to abandon everything you have studied before. Most seminary students end up taking a minor or second major in another field just to have enough classes to be a full-time student. Depending on how long you have gone to another college, most transfer students have the choice to continue their majors and pursue the philosophy seminary requires.