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Am I called?

It's a great question with an easy answer…yes! We're all called! Some are called to priesthood or religious life. Many are called to marriage. And some are called to the single life. So the question is not if, but how are we called? Obviously, this web site is designed to help you begin to understand a possible call to priesthood.

We understand that not everyone who is beginning to discern this call is ready to talk about it with a priest. So here are some ways that you might continue your discernment on your own. Eventually, of course, you'll have to talk to someone, but these suggestions might help you get started.

1. Pray Daily, especially with the Psalms

Here are several Psalms to help you in your prayer: 63, 51, 23, 150, 8, 24, 27, 34, 42, 46, 65, 67, 72, 90, 93, 103, 104
New American Bible - Psalms

 You might also purchase The University of Notre Dame Student Prayer Book
 

2. Participate in the Eucharist, as often as possible. Try to immerse yourself in parish life in other ways too.


3. Go on a Retreat
, at least once a year

Here are some places nearby to try…

Carmel Center of Spirituality, P.O. Box 117, Bluff Road, Liberty, Tennessee 37095, Phone: (615) 536-5177

Cursillo, The National Cursillo® Center: Cursillo - What Is It?, In Nashville…cursillotn@aol.com

Abbey of Gethsemani, 3624 Monks Rd., Trappist, KY 40051-6152, Tel: 502-549-3117, Fax: 502-549-4124, Retreat Information

Ignatius House, 6700 Riverside Drive, NW, Atlanta, Georgia 30328, Phone: 404-255-0503, Retreat Information

Saint Meinrad Archabbey, St. Meinrad, Indiana 47577, 812-357-6611, Retreat Information
 

4. Do Something with God's Poor.

Here are some places you could serve…

Holy Name: Loaves and Fishes (615) 256-7256
Safe Haven Shelters (615) 256-8195
Haiti or another Mission Trip Talk to your pastor.

5. Try Some Scripture Study, perhaps 101 Questions on the Bible by Raymond Brown.

6. Find a Spiritual Director, a person of faith to talk about your prayer life. You could ask your pastor.

7. Read Some Church History.
Two suggestions: People of God, by Anthony Gilles or Pilgrim Church, by William Bausch

8. Find a Spiritual Writer Who Seems to Speak to You.

Here are a few you might try out:

Pope Francis
Pope John Paul II
Pope Benedict XVI
Thomas Merton
Henri Nouwen
C.S. Lewis
Mother Teresa
Ronald Rohlheiser
G.K. Chesterton

9. Has there been a significant priest in your life? Send him a thank you note. Consider talking with him about your vocation.

10. Do you have any struggles with the Church? See any disagreement you have with Church teaching as an invitation to take the question to a deeper level of study, refection and prayer.

11. Choose at Least One Saint as a Model, perhaps your Confirmation saint. Lives of the Saints by Richard McBrien might give you some ideas.

12. Pray for Everyone Else Who Is Discerning God's Call.     

 

 
Twelve Exercises to Discern Your Call
  1. Imagine yourself 5 to 10 years from now. Do you want to continue in life as you are now? Imagine yourself as a priest or religious ten years from now.
     
  2. Fantasize by going through an entire day in your future as a priest. Visualize yourself being a priest and doing what you imagine a priest does. Notice how your gut reacts to this exercise.
     
  3. What is usually the most life-giving part of your week? What does that say about you?
     
  4. Shadow a priest or religious for a day. Accompany them through the various aspects of ministry.
     
  5. For one week, live as if you decided to enter the seminary or formation program. Notice how you felt. The following week live as if you decided to drop the church vocation question and dismiss it. What feelings are stirred within you?
     
  6. Imagine Jesus looks you in the eye, calls you by your first name, and says, "What is it you really want?" Spend time with the question. Tell Jesus all you hope for in life. Then spend time listening to his response to your dreams.
     
  7. What was the last major decision you made about your life? How did you come to that decision? Was it a good one? What can you learn from that experience about your vocation discernment?
     
  8. Make a list of all the reasons it would be a good idea for you to become a priest or religious. Then make a list of all the reasons not to do so. Bring them before God in prayer and listen.
     
  9. What advice would you give someone in your shoes regarding a Church vocation?
     
  10. Reflect on priests or religious who have been mentors for you. Which qualities would you like to imitate if you were called?
     
  11. Search through the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke or John for a story of someone being called by Jesus. Write the words in your own hand, and keep the story in your shirt pocket.
     
  12. Is your weekly ministry more life-giving than your 40 hour work week?


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