There’s a caveat to my vocation story: I didn’t receive a billboard from heaven or have God speak to me to tell me I should be a priest. That’s not how I came to be on this journey. For some it can be, although that tends to be an important first step rather than the whole picture.
Recently, I’ve spoken to a lot of people who are thinking about offering themselves for ordination. For some, like me, it can be an inkling, a feeling that grows over time. In my experience, that happens if you spend Sundays at places like this:
During mass this morning, I must admit I got lost in what was going on with my own situation and wasn’t totally focused on what was happening in church (should I go to confession for that?).
I always get a tingling whenever I enter a church, and it’s heightened during the Mass. And today I wondered what that was. Is it God working in a way I can’t comprehend? Is this feeling the driver behind me pursuing this path?
I don’t doubt it’s part of it. But I think it’s a major facet. And more importantly, this has become something I feel I can’t ignore any longer. That more than anything is why I looked deeper into this feeling.
Vocation is something that is personal by its very nature. Yet I’ve been amazed by the amount of people who offer support and advice once they here that you’re offering yourself for ordination. Most important of all are those who say they’ll remember you in their prayers.
It can be really daunting to offer yourself for ordination. But don’t forget, there are a number of areas where you can get really good advice. The Church of England’s own website is full of useful information, and there are a number of vocation specific websites around. Click here for a very good one indeed.
But before all of that, my advice would always be to talk to a priest. Your own parish priest is ideal, but anyone who is ordained will have been through the process – or at least a version of it. My first step came with a chat to my priest, and even trying to frame the words helped to get my mind’s “filing cabinet” in order. It was by no means the only conversation I’ve had with him since, but that initial period of talking through my thoughts and feelings was invaluable.
Do listen to what they have to say though, and also don’t hesitate to ask them questions when they arise. The chances are the more you explore, the more you’ll want to know.
It’s an exciting journey.