What is the “vocation”?
The vocation is the “calling”; it is Jesus who inspires, through His Grace, some people to unite intimately with Him in the priesthood. He expressed His will to continue the celebration of the Eucharist through his ministers when He said to his Apostles: “do this in remembrance of me” (Lk 22, 19). The Lord calls for new ministers in each time of history, so that they can celebrate the Sacrament of the Eucharist and the other Sacraments, and become heralds of God on the earth. The priest has to be a living incarnation of what Christ has been, with his life, his example, his virtues and his prayer, so that every Christian can say about him what many Saints said: sacerdos est alter Christus (the priest is another Christ).
The vocation is not easy; the conditions that Jesus requires to follow Him are challenging, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give them to the poor, and you will have a treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me” (Mt 19, 21) or “whoever wants to be my disciple must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me” (Mt 16, 24). Jesus wants his disciple to leave everything and follow Him, but He also said that “everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit the eternal life” (Mt 19, 29). What the disciple has to leave is much, but also what he gains if he is faithful to his vocation. The Lord will give all the necessary graces to persevere and the eternal life in Heaven for every “good and faithful servant”.
Does Jesus call me?
The vocation is an interior call. Except for some extraordinary cases of Saints who received a special sign of God (such as St. Paul, who experienced a vision of Christ on the way to Damascus), Jesus normally calls to priesthood with an “interior movement”. The person “knows”, “fells” to be called, maybe after a particular event in his life. If someone fells attracted by the words of Jesus in the Gospel or by the example of other priests and missionaries and desires to detach from earthly goods to follow Christ as He indicated, that person can think to be called to priesthood. Every vocation is an unrepeatable act of the Love of God, so every vocation is strictly personal and needs a personal direction.
If you think to have the vocation, you need to talk about that with a priest, who will help you in your discernment, to know if Jesus really calls you. The best ways to discern are:
- The Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola: silence and prayer are essential to hear the voice of God, and during the Exercises, you will have much time to meditate, think, do spiritual direction and know more about the vocation and the possible obstacles against that. (click here to know about Spiritual Exercises)
- Visit to the seminary: you can contact the nearest IVE formation house and spend some days with the seminarians to see how they live, what they study, how they prepare for their future priesthood.
Here are some useful links to contact IVE priests for spiritual direction, click on them to know more: MISSING LINKS