How do I know when I am called?
All the baptized are incorporated into the Church and so called to be holy. The struggle is to determine which call is truly ours amid the many vocations God has for his people. One way to think more carefully about whether or not you are called to the priesthood is to look at your talents and desires, at your background and ambitions.
There is a voice inside us. Sometimes it won’t leave us alone. Whatever you do, you should listen to that inner voice.
Very few men hear it, but it is very real and must be answered.
Call to Priesthood
Jesus still calls men to be priests just as He called the apostles. This vocation is a call to share in the priesthood of Jesus Christ so that his unique saving mission may continue through pastoral service, proclamation of the Word and a celebration of the Mysteries, especially the Eucharist and Confession.
Signs of a Vocation to the Priesthood
Yes, there are signs that God may be calling you to the Holy Priesthood. This spiritual call is experienced by
- a recurring thought – it often starts as an “I wonder,” thought, but won’t go away;
- a growing attraction to the priesthood;
- a growing sense that one would find fulfillment by serving God as a priest.
- a desire for God that manifests itself in a desire to sacrifice all in a Christ-like life – every day.
- a love of the Church and her Traditions and a desire to celebrate the Holy Mysteries for God’s beloved children.
- a desire to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the whole creation – those in the Church and those in the world.
- a desire to serve the people of God as a servant-leader; after the example of Jesus, “who came not to be served but to serve.”
- a heart that can listen to others and a desire to be the prophetic, healing presence of Christ to His people.
There are also other practical suggestions which will help a young man discern a call to the priesthood.
Orthodox Christian worship is the Art of Arts, and should not be neglected by those discerning the Lord’s call. The celestial worship of the living God is the Church’s greatest prayer and greatest action. The Divine Liturgy feeds us and nourishes us by God’s work and the Body and Blood of Christ. A young man discerning a vocation to the priesthood is encouraged to participate in the celebration of Divine Liturgy so that he can grow in his relationship with the Lord.
Daily Personal Prayer
You should get in the habit of setting aside time for God alone, usually in a quiet place at a specific time each day. This prayer time can consist of talking to the Lord in one’s own words, praying with the Sacred Scriptures, especially the Gospels, reverently reading prayers from a prayer book. Regardless of what you do, don’t do nothing. Developing the daily habit and pattern of prayer will help you to hear more clearly the call of the Christ.
Direction is also very important when discerning a vocation to the priesthood. Speaking with a priest about one’s life and seeking his advice on a regular basis is very helpful as one discerns a vocation to the priesthood.
Vocational discernment opportunities
Like a weekend retreat at a seminary, spending time with local clergy, or by joining a discussion group of other young men discerning a vocation are priceless in helping one to discern the calling to serve Christ and His Church.
Get involved in some form of service with the Church. For example; mission work, outreach to the poor, helping with religious education, public speaking, visiting the sick and shut ins, youth work in the parish, are all excellent venues s to give one a taste of “ministry” and can also increase one’s desire for ministry and service.
Visit a healthy monastery and seek prayer
A monastery is a place of constant work and prayer. It’s a lot of work. It’s a lot of prayer. You’ll be doing plenty of both as a priest or deacon, so getting comfortable in a setting where these are standard is important.
Talk to us here at GGWB
Or a vocation director in your diocese. This is to obtain further information about seminary and priestly life. The Vocation Director can also help one’s discernment through regular meetings so as to discern with the young man the authenticity of his call.
I’m thinking about taking the first step. What do I do next?
Pick up the phone and call your priest. Email us. Call an Orthodox seminary. There are vocation directors at each seminary who can help you begin the process.