Discerning the Call: High School Students
How can I really be sure what God wants me to do?
If you are still waiting for lightning to strike and God to say, “Be a priest,” don’t hold your breath. God is probably not going to appear suddenly and tell you what to do. But He will tell you, if you ask Him. Talk to the Lord. Go to daily Mass, pray in front of the Blessed Sacrament, and talk to a priest you really admire about all this. He’ll listen, and smiling, probably say, “What took you so long to ask?”
If I join, doesn’t that mean I definitely will be a priest?
None of us will ever really be sure if we are supposed to go to seminary, until we go to seminary. There is no better place to find God’s will than actually in the seminary. Joining seminary means that you are willing to ask the questions and be open to the priesthood, if that is God's will. About fifty percent of those who enter seminary will not make it to ordination, and that’s okay. That’s what seminaries are for, and if you end up leaving, the seminary will have helped your relationship with God and helped you form good friendships. What could be bad about that?
Am I weird for thinking about this?
Absolutely not. There is nothing weird about wanting to absolve sin in the sacrament of Reconciliation, or transforming bread and wine into Jesus’ Body and Blood. The priesthood is an awesome gift to mankind from Almighty God. Priests are warriors for God. They have battled the devil for two thousand years. They have faced Pharisees, gladiators, lions, emperors, German barbarians, pagan peoples across the world, heretics, the French Revolution, terrorism, and today scandal. For two thousand years the priest has stood the test, and the Church still stands ever-bright and ever-new. Only real men could live such lives.
What if I like girls?
Liking girls does not prevent you from going to a seminary. We are interested in normal, healthy men who understand their own sexuality and are able to embrace the gift of celibacy. But if you have dated before, that’s fine - and it might even be a way to discern whether God is calling you to marriage or priesthood. A good appreciation of the beauty of female sexuality is important for priests, because we are going to be ministering to women our whole lives. Girls can be our good friends; they give us energy and motivation. Celibacy is not easy, sure, but the rewards are totally worth it. Plus, young people have this crazy notion that marriage is somehow this sex paradise that never has any struggles. Any Christian life one takes, be it priesthood, marriage or religious, will have its challenges.
Isn’t everyone in seminary a loser?
Hardly. As said above, the seminary is not interested in weird guys who are not capable of communicating with everyday people. We need priests who are real. We need down-to-earth guys who can help their flock come to experience Jesus Christ. Somehow people have this idea that seminarians are these guys who spend all day either studying or praying. While those are our two main areas of focus, we can have fun too. Seminarians and priests play sports, cards, video games, watch movies, work out, have parties, listen to music, whatever. Most seminarians are just normal guys whom God has awesome plans for, and those make the best priests.
More resources for high school students...
- Learn more about Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati
- Homily of Pope John Paul II from World Youth Day 2002