Dear Fr Anthony,
I would like to start off by saying that you gave an excellent message to me when I was at Spiritual Exercises with you. It really made my faith stronger. I have a question to ask you. I am seriously thinking about becoming a diocesan priest and I want to be one….however there is one problem. At certain times in my life girls really attract me and I don’t want them to. I have a passion to become a priest that burns inside me. Since I feel this attraction for girls does it mean I’m not cut out for priesthood?
I am glad you found the spiritual exercises helpful, and I pray that you will persevere in your decision to follow Christ in the diocesan priesthood.
As regards your attraction for girls, the first thing it means is that you are probably normal. The key to priesthood is not to be found in the absence of an attraction for girls, but in the reasons you have for not pursuing that attraction and choosing something else above it, and what you do to strengthen yourself in your commitment to celibacy.
It will help if you keep in very high esteem what a priest is, and the good he is called to do. Then make sure that you “watch and pray” as Christ told Peter. Take care that you don’t put yourself in temptation, that you protect your commitment to love Christ exclusively. Watch your readings, the use you make of the media and your time, mastery of your mind, self-discipline and sacrifice…, and pray—through Mary’s intercession, especially—for the strength to live the first of all the fundamental chastity of an unmarried Christian.
As you fight this good fight for chastity along with all Catholics who want to be faithful to Christ and show the world the meaning of God’s plan, set your heart on the higher gift: the gift of celibacy for the sake of the Kingdom of God. This will mean an extra effort and petition to get to know Christ in prayer, learning from him the value of a single soul, seeing what he was prepared to do for us, offering yourself for him to use you as he pleases. And especially read and accept all the Church teaches about the great gift and charism of celibacy.