If you not sure who God is calling you to be and what He is calling you to do then make sure you've walked the following steps for discernment!
1. Pray for Great Faith, Great Hope and Great Love!
The priesthood is a calling from God, our Father. There is no better place to explore this call than in the silence of prayer where a man can talk to God as a son talks to his father. Prayer is a conversation with God, an opening of the heart to Him. Open your heart, especially right after receiving Him in the Eucharist at Mass. Pray for great faith, great hope and great love! These help us to hear our Father's voice and to respond to it.
2. Receive the Sacraments
Stay close to Christ in the Eucharist and in the Sacrament of Confession. Eucharist is the soul's food and Confession is its medicine. You need them; be faithful to them. It is important to go to Mass every week and Holy Days and confession every month. They will feed and heal your heart. The Eucharist and Confession are two of the great gifts offered to this world through the priesthood. So if God has chosen you to be a priest, they will speak to your heart in a very special way.
3. Hang Around the Right People
We influence one another in good ways and bad. Our relationships deeply affect who we become. It is important that our friends encourage us to do the right thing: to put God first.
Over and over again, Jesus says his follower's must serve others. On the night before his death at the last supper, Jesus washed the apostles' feet and told them to follow his example. Jesus has promised us that in serving others, we meet him. Thus, it is essential that we serve. I encourage you to do some sort of voluntary service for others, either at your parish, school, community or family.
5. Talk to Someone
You can't keep a desire to be a priest a secret forever. When the time is right, talk to someone you trust about what is going on in your heart or mind. The person could be a parent, priest, teacher, vocation director or whomever. Ask them what they think. You may be surprised by their insight. People often see priestly qualities in a man before he himself does.
6. Speak with the Vocation Director
My job is not to convince men to be priests - that's God's job. My job is to help men do what God wants them to do. When you come to speak to me, you will not get a sales pitch. I am here to help you discover what God wants you to do. Whether or not you are serious about entering the seminary, give me a call (701.471.5758) or send me an email. Discernment can be a difficult task that often cannot be done alone. The vocation director will be able to explain the nuts and bolts of the vocation program in the Diocese of Bismarck and let you know what has helped other men who were and are in your position.
7. Understand Celibacy
Usually celibacy is understood as not being able to be married. This is an insufficient understanding. It would be similar to understanding marriage as not being able to marry others because you are marrying just one! We understand marriage as gaining a special relationship with a person. Celibacy is about gaining a special relationship with Christ.
8. Visit a Seminary for a Weekend
If the thought that God may desire you to be a priest remains in your heart or on your mind for a sufficient time, then at some point you should visit a seminary for a weekend. Spending a weekend at a seminary has helped many men understand what God wishes for them. You are not committing to anything and it can be done as confidentially as you like. Just call.