Dating the Priesthood

What would you say to the young man who says, “I met this woman and I believe that she is the one that I am to marry.  I really think God might be calling her to be my wife.  The only problem is that I am not sure.  I don’t want to date her until God gives me a sign that this is the one for me.”  LOSER!  If you think that the Lord is calling you to marriage and you think this might be the person with whom you are to spend the rest of your life, the only real response is, “You have to date her in order to find out if you are meant to marry her.”

There are many young men who think that the Lord might be calling them to be a priest, but they are not sure.  They are waiting for a miracle or theophany or something that will reveal to them what they are to do. They look from the outside in and cannot come to a decision.  What is the answer?

If you think that the Lord might be calling you to priesthood, then you can only do so much discerning from the outside. You reach the point in which the next step is to “date the priesthood.” This means entering seminary. Does it mean that you will be a priest? No. It means that you are open to God’s Call and you will begin a serious time of discernment.

There are often seminarians who will say to me, “I don’t know if I am called to the priesthood, but I do know that I am called to seminary.” If you have received signs along the way and a growing desire that the Lord may be calling you to priesthood, take the time to meet seminarians from your diocese, visit a seminary, and consider the possibility of dating the priesthood. “You can’t marry unless you date.” “You can’t swim unless you jump in the pool.” Or as Father Brett Brannen writes, “You can’t drive a parked car.”