Entering the seminary is a big step in a man’s life, but it is also important to remember that it is not as big as it might first seem. By deciding to enter the seminary, you are simply stating that you feel the Lord calling you to discern a vocation to the priesthood. You first enter the seminary not to become a priest, but to discern if you are called to be a priest. It is, on the one hand, a small step because you will have made no commitment other than a willingness to spend the next year discerning a calling to the priesthood with the support and assistance of the seminary faculty, as well as your brother seminarians, so that you no longer undergo this discernment alone.
At the same time, it is a big step because you will be stating for the first time publicly that you may become a priest. Friends and family will react in different ways to this declaration, but don’t let that worry you. Never forget the phrase so often mentioned in Scripture: “Be Not Afraid!”
If you discern, through the guidance of your spiritual director, that you are not called to the priesthood, what have you lost? A year or two spent learning more about yourself, your spiritual life, the Church, your vocation….all this goes with you. If your discernment leads you to the sacrament of Holy Orders, you will have found your mission in life. Either way, it is a win-win situation and time well spent. Ask the vast majority of men who have spent time in the seminary discerning their vocation, and they will tell you that they were some of the best years of their lives!