I first felt the call to the priesthood while I was in RCIA. I read about the priesthood and felt a clear call from God to pursue this path. After my reversion a year prior, I had already promised to give God my life, so I could hardly refuse Him this decision.
I grew a lot in discernment during the first two or three years of seminary. Once I had a greater appreciation for what the priesthood was, for the great task that lay before me of reconciling people with God, bringing the life of Christ into their hearts, and introducing them to our Blessed Mother, I felt much more strongly attracted to the priesthood and at peace with my vocation. I want to be able to share the faith with those who are looking for answers in a world that is increasingly estranged from God and at war with itself.
Growing in Marian devotion has been an incredibly moving and meaningful part of this journey. While coming from a Protestant background I didn’t appreciate the role She plays in the Christian’s life, being consecrated to Our Mother has brought Her into my heart in a way that lets Her guide me every day. I’ve learned to trust Her voice as I continue discerning and growing towards the vocation I believe Our Lord is calling me to. Praying Her rosary on a daily basis has strengthened the call as well.
In the early stages of discernment, I had questions about whether I wanted to be married and have kids. The more I learned about marriage and family, the more I appreciated the Church’s teaching on the vocation of marriage and the depths of love to which married people are called. Paradoxically, once my worldly understanding of the meaning of love and relationships matured and I understood more deeply that marriage is self-gift and not self-satisfaction, I was more inclined to the priesthood.
In my first interview with my vocation director, he said he pursued the priesthood because he felt as though he had more love to give than he could give exclusively as a husband and father. I didn’t understand it at the time, but as I’ve grown in discernment I realize that as a priest of Jesus Christ I have opportunities for self-giving to the Church and to the lost sheep of the world that I can’t fulfill in a marriage. Celibacy is not a gift that limits love, but expands it enormously to horizons beyond what I can give of myself in a marriage, as worthy a vocation as that is.