Dear Fr Anthony,
For the past 2 years or more I have been seriously discerning a possible calling to the priesthood. When I first felt the call I wasn’t a very religious person, I wasn’t even Catholic yet. But over the years I have grown in my spirituality mostly, I believe, because of this possible vocation. While reading “Discerning a Vocation” I saw this, “what should be a vital conversation with God, the experience of the breath of God on one’s life, the stirring of our deepest and noblest aspirations, into a cold examination and spiritless calculation of risk, preferences and rewards, and the ceaseless rummaging for signs.” The part I am concerned about is preferences. These past 2 ½ years or so, I have been trying to discern my vocation to either religious or diocesan life. I do feel that if I am being called, it’s to be in a parish and to serve God’s people. So for a while I felt that diocesan was for me. But after I started learning more about the Church, and discovering things for the first time I found out about the Tridentine Mass. Just reading the missal for the older rite was awesome. I don’t know if it’s because of something that I want, or if it’s something that God wants. I then found out about an order that celebrates the mass according to the missal of 1962, the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter, and started to think maybe it was for me. It’s been hard for me to discern if this is what God wants or if it is something that I am attracted to personally, and now I’m afraid that I’m letting my preferences get involved too much. Because I have started to mix my personal preferences with a spiritual calling, does this mean that I could possibly not have a calling at all? Anytime I think of myself not as a priest I lose this sense of happiness that I have knowing that I will someday be a priest for God and a servant of his people. But when I think of having a calling and serving God’s people, I get a special kind of joy that stays with me. I will continue praying for my vocation, and for you and the LC. Thank you for taking your time to read this.
I think that you may be complicating things a little…, but for the right reason! The right reason is that you want to do what is right, what God wants and not what you want. That is very good, and when God sees this in your heart he is pleased.
Perhaps you could add a dimension to your reflections that will help you get beyond your present difficulty. Focus on what the priesthood is for. The priesthood is not for ourselves, for our personal satisfaction and delight; it is for the service of the Church and souls. God makes us priests so that he will be able to make himself present “in the flesh” in the Eucharist for all who need him. He makes us priests so that all who need their sins forgiven can come to us and be cleansed of them. He makes us priests so that the sick can be strengthened with the Sacraments, so that his word will be preached, so that people will receive hope and be renewed through our work and service….
In your prayer tell him you want to do as much good as you can for as many people as you can, offer yourself to him and ask him to give you light to understand where he wants you to go and how he wants you to do this. Give it time. Also, it will probably be helpful for you to speak about this to a priest you know and trust.
Thanks for your prayers for us, I’ll remember you in mine as well.