Priests aren’t born they’re built
Written by Father Wayne Stock
The common expression about superheroes is that “they are not born but rather they are made”. Films or comic books that portray the origin story of a particular superhero usually contains this trope in one way or another by revealing to us the process by which the character truly becomes a hero. They are often blessed with some power or ability, but they are not considered heroes until they are greatly challenged and often lose. Through that loss however, the story always resolves with them discovering the secret to overpowering their enemy.
Priesthood and the journey to priesthood is much the same. Many young men are told that they have gifts or abilities that would serve the church well if they pursued the priesthood. The challenge for the many however may come from within, they may doubt their ability, they might not think they are holy enough to pursue the priesthood, or they may allow those compliments to go to their head and end up being prideful.
These challenges can be overcome, and that is precisely what discernment is. Discernment is the process by which we pray that God reveal his plan for us in our lives. Much discernment happens before a young man enters seminary, but even more will occur once he has begun the seminary process.
The seminary is a place that intentionally challenges all those who pursue priesthood to discover their gifts and to develop them, as well as discover their weaknesses and learn how to work through them and grow in those areas as well. It is the opportunity to allow oneself to be built into the hero that God has created them to be.
The priesthood is not always easy and often times it requires many skills, but no priest is a lone ranger. All priests are supported by their brother priests, all those around the world who are praying for him, and most certainly by the grace of God.
The grace of God is the secret weapon that builds all Christians up and helps them grow and develop in their faith. The priesthood is no different. To be a priest, one must constantly rely on the grace of our Lord through his sacraments, because that is precisely how God builds heroes.