In case I haven't already told you, I am in the final stages of applying to St. Joseph's College Seminary on the campus of Loyola University in Chicago. It has been interesting to say the least! I have only one more interview with one of three priests to go before the seminary board meeting that ultimately decides whether or not I am accepted will meet on March 21st to decide my fate. This is all pretty exciting stuff that has been going on including psychological testing, medical examinations and physicals, interviews with priests and discernment groups and retreats.
During the process, what I've really enjoyed doing is being able to just take time to really pray and meditate about whether or not God wants me to be a priest or not. I've realized that throughout everything, I have been shown the importance of total and complete trust in Him. A prayer that has been stuck in my mind and I have recited often is, "God, please reveal your will for me, and if I am not doing your will, please make it obvious!"
One thing that I have noticed so far is that while we as Christians try to live our lives entirely dedicated to God, so many things try to keep us from doing just that. In my life for example, while in the midst of my application process I have been struggling with laziness, lack of motivation, the feeling of unworthiness and also my feelings of interest towards girls. During discernment, I learned that it is okay to date and that it is important to develop good, strong, healthy and holy relationships with girls. While applying to the seminary, or for a person who is ready to enter seminary, it is important to distance yourself from serious dating since you are considering giving your life to Christ. For me this has been very challenging concept to grasp because simply put, "I like girls!" and I feel that ever since I started applying I have had more girls wanting to hangout or date and are way to serious about things than before I began applying. It feels like a tug and pull relationship. At one point I am strong in my discernment and yet I am also very weak.
Another part that has been addressed in recent interviews and conversations is the importance of academics. I have never been strong in my academic career and it is a huge problem. In fact, I learned that I might not be accepted because of that issue. I am advanced in History and English, but very poor in Math and Science. On top of this, I am a horrible test taker and this is clearly evident in my low ACT score.
I am finding it hard sometimes to be positive and upbeat of the application process. I do experience doubts and negative thoughts many times with what God really wants for me. I have attended seminary summer camps as well as other events in the Archdiocese and every where I looked, I kept thinking that I could really see myself becoming a priest and yet I am learning so often that it is harder than it looks. I am finding out that it is not easy to be a priest, let alone even be accepted into a seminary.
Despite everything, I have learned how important prayer and patience are! I have learned that it is important no matter what to never lose confidence and trust in God. I have confidence that he will put me right where he wants me, despite all of my girl and school troubles. I realize that even if I don't become a priest, I will continue to have my strong faith in Jesus and a strong love for His Catholic church. With God by my side, I will have nothing to fear. He has me in his arms, carrying me the whole way to where he knows I will be needed.