When we say that a man has a vocation to the priesthood, it simply means that God’s will is for that particular man to become a priest. Priestly vocations do not usually become known through visions or interior voices, but rather by various indicators – in a man’s character, piety, and inclinations – that the Holy Spirit is moving him to the Priesthood.
Among the ordinary signs of a priestly vocation are:
- A genuine and perduring inclination of mind to serve God as a priest You feel attracted to the life of the priest, and to ecclesiastical things. You might be interested in the Church’s Liturgy, in learning more about the teachings of the Church so as one day to transmit them to others, or missionary work. There is something about the priesthood that draws you.
- A genuine desire to promote the glory of God and of His Church, and the salvation of souls This is the real work of the priest, and at times it demands great sacrifices. This is the only true motive of becoming a priest. It would be wrong to become a priest for the wrong motive: for example, because people would have great respect for you.
- A good moral life One of the signs of not having a vocation is the inability to stay away from mortal sin for an extended time. But this does not mean that one must be a saint to discern a priestly vocation; it simply means that you must be serious about your spiritual life, that you receive the sacraments often, be intentional about avoiding circumstances that lead to sin, and strive to lead an upright life.
- Piety The life of a priest is a life of prayer, and part of a vocation to the priesthood is an inclination to prayer – both liturgical prayer and private prayer.
- Emotional / Psychological stability The priest must be a father to all, and must bear the problems of all, and cannot himself be burdened with emotional and psychological problems.
- At least average intelligence The priest must faithfully transmit Catholic doctrine to the faithful, and accurately identify and diagnose their sins in the confessional. Hence he must have at least average intellectual ability to pass his seminary courses.
Adapted from; St Catherine of Siena, Trumbull.com