How Do I Know I Have A Vocation?
It is a mistake to believe that a priestly vocation must be so absolutely clear that it scarcely leaves any choice to the free will. There are certain absolute conditions, and if these conditions are not present, you can be sure that God is not calling you. The absolutely necessary conditions are:
Good Health. You don’t have to be an athlete, but if you can play as well as the other boys in your neighborhood, you probably have average or better health.
Average Mental Ability. You don’t have to be a genius. The patron Saint of parish priests, St. John Vianney, failed in the seminary several times, but he did not give up. Sometimes a slow learner digs deeper into the subject than a quicker student.
Reasonable Independence. If one must care for parents, for instance, one is not free to enter the seminary.
Good Moral Character. If one is not at least ordinarily devoted to religious practices, one can hardly be fit for more than ordinary religious practices.
These are all the characteristics of a good ordinary boy. Besides these, there may be other signs inspired by God as an invitation to follow Him.
A spirit of sacrifice. An ability to give up lesser but more appealing good for the greater more spiritual ones.
A spirit of zeal. A special form of charity that inspires one to work for saving souls.
A spirit of detachment. The power to leave the world behind, control emotions, and be willing to lead a celibate life.
A desire to become a priest. The conviction that for him the surest way to save his soul is to become a priest.
The vocation to the holy priesthood is tested over a period of time. A seminarian spends two years in academic and spiritual formation in the seminary before he can become a cleric. During his next two years, he advances slowly through the minor orders of porter, lector, exorcist, and acolyte, which bestow upon him the fundamental responsibilities associated with the priesthood. Throughout his first four years, he is free to leave the seminary if he thinks it is not his vocation. Only after these four years does he make a final commitment to the life of celibacy by ordination to the subdiaconate. After that follows the diaconate and the great day arrives when he is ordained to the holy priesthood.
One great mistake made by young people is to think that if God is calling them to His service, He will manifest it to them in some extraordinary way. They must not expect an angel to tell them. This is certainly not the usual manner that vocations are given. The call from God may be an interior voice within the soul, it may be a certain spiritual attraction for the religious life or priesthood, or it may be a very faint whisper that one occasionally hears from God— “Come, follow Me.”
The most important disposition our young people must have is the simple desire to do the will of God. Thus the Blessed Virgin Mary prayed at the Annunciation, “Fiat mihi secundum verbum tuum,” “Be it done to me according to Thy word.” If our young people have this attitude of conformity to the will of God, they will find the vocation to which God is calling them in life. It is also very important that they receive counsel from their spiritual director or confessor who spiritually knows them very well and can give solid advice.
Mater Dei Seminary does not accept anyone more than thirty years old. If you are considering applying for admission to the seminary, you must complete an admission form, have a baptismal certificate and your parent’s marriage certificate, together with a letter of intention stating your motive and aptitude to enter the seminary and a letter of recommendation from a traditional Catholic priest. After your information has been processed, you will be contacted to arrange a visit to the seminary and an interview by the Bishop.
Admission forms can be acquired by writing to:
Mater Dei Seminary
c/o Vocations Director
7745 Military Ave.
Omaha, NE 68134