Most of the clergy I know (and I know quite a lot [puzzle – one day I became really close friends with over 20 clergy – how?]) ran away from their call to ordination for varying lengths of time. There were some really bizarre stories – Lesley thinks mine was one of the best – I went to a vocations event to prove I didn’t have a vocation – and look where that got me!
Joan Chittister writes:
The question, of course, is how do we recognize the Will of God? How do we tell the will of God from our own? How do we know when to resist the tide and confront the opposition and when to embrace the pain and accept the bitterness because “God wills it for us.” The answer lies in the fact that the Jesus who said “I have come not to do my own will but the will of the One who sent me” is also the Jesus who prayed in Gethsemane, “Let this chalice pass from me:” The will of God for us is what remains of a situation after we try without stint and pray without ceasing to change it.
(Answer – I was really good friends with over 20 people who became clergy on the same day!).
At our ordination, once we had arrived at the Cathedral we were told that was it – they were locking the door, and we were going to be ordained whether we liked it or not, and I know one very good priest who says they would have run away without that.
Finding our vocation (whether it is to ordination or something else) is not easy, it is not certain; we have to step out in faith and listen to the wisdom of others along the way, and then, when we own it there are times when we are still not sure; but there are other times when we are absolutely certain that we are where God wants us to be doing what God wants us to do.