What qualities would a man discerning a vocation to the Priesthood need?
Be a Practicing Catholic
Firstly he needs to be a practicing Catholic and have practiced his Catholic faith for a number of years. He should be able to show a good example of what it means to be a living, breathing Catholic, to his family, friends, worked mates and parishioners.
Living a Life of Virtue
He desires to live a life of virtue, wanting to be holy, is troubled by his sinfulness. He continually strives to live a holy life with the assistance of regular Confession, attending Mass, daily prayer, the prayerful reading of the Scriptures, praying Rosary and spending time in adoration.
He is faithful to his prayer life, making it an important part of his normal daily routine. He strives to center his spiritual life round the celebration of the Mass, the ‘source and summit’ of his life. He is a regular attender at weekday Masses and spends time weekly in adoration and or praying before the Blessed Sacrament.
A candidate for the Priesthood needs a healthy sexuality and is not addicted to pornography and masturbation. He will need to make a commitment to lead a chaste and celibate life.
He needs to be an able student to cope with the seminary studies. Some seminarians may take time to get used to studying, especially if they have been working. The studies are a test of fortitude and endurance, two important qualities needed for the Priesthood. Things will not always be easy. Seminarians are called to apply themselves and preserve in all situations and do their best with the help of God’s grace.
The Mind of the Church
It is also valuable to have the ability to think with the mind of the Church which is formed by Scripture and Tradition. There is always more than one way of looking at a situation, and not being lured by fades and whims.
He needs to be stable and be able to endure the normality of life, be able to keep a job, save money and prove he is trustworthy and reliable. He needs to be able to finish things, is hardworking and honest.
Kind and Reasonable
One of the most important qualities people look for in their Priests is whether they are kind and reasonable. People will remember kindness before many other qualities. A kind Priest is always more effective and may bear much fruit in his priestly ministry.
Humility is a valuable quality to have. Humility helps us to cope with disappointments and success with the right attitude. It is not always easy to manage failure and criticism, humility teaches us that it will pass and it may be an opportunity for growth and improvement.
To have good people skills is essential. To be a good listener, a good communicator and to be able to relate to people of all ages are important qualities to have. Life is made up of relationships. Priests are continually dealing with people and how they relate to them is very important. This skill needs to be continually developed.
Joy and Self-control
Joy is an essential quality to have. Mother Teresa of Calcutta says “Joy is a net of love by which we can catch souls for God.” A person who is joyful is more attractive and life shouldn’t be governed by how we feel or by our moods. People look to their Priests as examples to be people of joy, reflecting the love of Christ to everyone they meet. Priests need good self-control. They need to able to control their anger, what they say and how they say it.
The many qualities that are needed in men discerning a vocation to the priesthood can be developed and improved over time. Our human formation is as important as our spiritual formation. A man who is called to the priesthood will receive the grace to develop and grow to become an effective instrument for Christ through his humanity.