Dear Father Angelo,
I am very disoriented. In the last confession, made at a shrine, the confessor said to me, “Have you ever thought of becoming a priest?” And then resumed saying, “God’s will and his call can be expressed in many ways, even in what I’m telling you.” Honestly, it is already the second time that I have been proposed to become a priest, the first time was by my former parish priest, now ninety years old. Now, is that truly the Lord’s call like this for me? How can I find out if my vocation as a Christian is lay or consecrated? In recent times, it is true, my faith feels more intense, more fervent. I feel this even from the little things. A few days ago, I was left alone in the chapter house of the cathedral in my town to finish a little job for the parish priest until late in the evening, who, having to leave early, left me the keys to the church and asked me to lock it when I was done. My little work done, I walked down the dark aisle and felt an inner peace, almost like a feeling that Jesus was with me. Over this I ask you to help me understand better if possible, to clarify myself a bit.
I ask you one more question. I’ve made a resolution to take communion when I’m at Mass on weekdays (I don’t think it’s a vow). Tonight, in particular, I felt unworthy. I felt I needed a confession. While I don’t remember any specific mortal sins from the last confession, I feared committing sacrilege, offending the Lord more than I had by keeping the resolution. Was it a temptation? However, I will try to confess as soon as possible.
I look forward to your blessing and prayerful remembrance, promising to remember you in my prayers.
1. The Lord’s call can be expressed in many ways, even through the confessor’s voice. However, the confessor has not told you that you have to become a priest. He asked you to think about it. And, you do well to think about it. But until you feel within yourself an internal inclination that drives you to become a priest, there can still be no talk of a vocation.
2. The priest probably saw many good qualities in you and also a possibility that you may become a priest. But, the Lord has his own plans.
3. I too have seen in my life many young people who are better than me (and I still see some) who, if they had become priests, would have done an immensely greater good than what I can do. I spoke openly with them about this too. But they said they didn’t feel the call. I didn’t go any further. However, in conclusion, I have done my part and, on this point, I am calm. And they too are calm, because after having examined the matter seriously and serenely, they have acknowledged that they have not been called.
4. You told me about the great serenity you felt in the Church, when you found yourself all alone after having done good work. It was the thank you that Jesus said to you. You won’t be able to forget it easily. Perhaps it is also an incentive to spend more time in intimate recollection with him, right there in the Church, where the sacramental presence exists and is felt.
5. About the sense of unworthiness you felt in receiving Holy Communion, despite not having awareness of grave sin, I don’t know if it was a temptation or if it was a grace. Because, sometimes the Lord gives us a sense of his holiness. And in that moment we feel so small, so unworthy and also so dirty or ungrateful, even though we are unaware of grave sins. In those moments we feel like saying together with St. Peter, who just before had received an amazing grace from the Lord, “Depart from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man” (Lk 5:8). You didn’t have to confess to this. But I urge you to confess often, even if there were no serious sins. The Lord is happy to purify and sanctify us more and more. And we must be grateful to them.
Goodbye for now, I remember you to the Lord and I bless you.