All right, how do you know you have a vocation to the priesthood? Many young men think of St. Paul being knocked off the horse and a blazing light from heaven announcing their sacerdotal calling; but it is rarely, if ever like that. So I propose some indicators that might reveal that the Lord is leading you to the priestly call.
- When growing up, did you play Mass? Besides being darn cute, you will of course be sanctioned by the Church for simulating a sacrament; but still this is a reliable child behavior for a budding seminarian.
- When you attend Mass or any liturgy, do you dream of what you would do differently than the priest celebrating to make it better?
- Do you think the Church building where you grew up worshipping was the most beautiful Church in the world? [Only to be told later in seminary that it was a 1) preVatican II monstrosity; 2) a postVatican II monstrosity; or 3) just a monstrosity?]
- Do the dreams of your First Mass include an orchestra, three types of incense and six elephants?
- Do you think that once the holy hands of the aged bishop descend upon you all thoughts of sex will go away? [This is adorable.}
- Do you think that the laying on of hands will impart infused knowledge as well as Holy Orders? [You will be disabused of this approximately one year after ordination. But not to worry, if you are ever ordained a bishop, this illusion will return permanently.]
- Do you get more excited about the release of a new vestment catalogue than the Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition?
- Have you been looking at cassocks; you know, just in case?
- You see a Sports Bar and a Catholic Church next to each other and decide to go into the Church.
- You have a picture of Jesus, the Pope and not less than three saints on the wall of your room.
If you have two or less of these indicators, your future as a lapsed Catholic, whose claim to fame is bragging that you once THOUGHT about becoming a priest, is assured.
Three to five of these indicators means you will have a career in the seminary, however brief.
If you meet six to eight of these you will probably make a half way decent priest.
If you are among the happy few who make nine of the criteria, you will either be raised to the purple (ordained a bishop) or eventually raised to the altars (canonized a saint).
If you make all ten of the criteria, you will never pass the psychological screening test for entering the seminary.
I hope this helps many young people discerning a vocation to the sacerdotal life.