Do not become a priest or a monk…
If you think that being a priest or religious is a 8 to 16 job, that you can turn off the phone when you have a day off or when it is not convinient, that your parishioners wake you up in the middle of the night - we do not need you. We already have such priests and monks.
Instead, we need people who are so dedicated to Christ's mission, dedicated to their parishioners, that they become like family. We need priests who are real "fathers" dedicated to their spiritual children. Not because it's their job, but because they love them.
If, in turn, you believe that as a priest or religious, you are a self-governor of God's grace, a guardian of the Mystery, who always searches for defects among his parishioners, being fixed on principles, regulations instead of grace and mercy - we do not need you. We already have too many such priests.
We need people who already know that they are also sinners, that they rely on the same grace as every human being and testify in their weakness. We need priests who see themselves as reconciliatiors not prosecutors. Who will leave their comfort zone to bring God closer to people.
If you think that just because we are a small Church jurisdiction with a few priests, we need you, and that you are irreplaceable in some way, because your preaching and management will save the Church, so you are doing the Church a favor - we don't need you. We already have such priests.
Instead, we need "instruments", not saviors. Servants, not kings. Christ is the Savior of the World.
This is not my church and it is not yours. It is Christ’s.
Even if we act ‘in persona Christi’ in some very specific situations, He is still to be glorified, not us.
If you want to be a priest because you want to hide somewhere - from the world, because it scares you or from yourself, because nothing else works for you - we don't need you. We already have such priests.
We need those who are so in love with God's Creation that they want to act only for its good.
If at the end of the formation, just before ordination, you still do not live a prayerful life, if Jesus Christ is not the foundation of everything you are and do - we do not need you. We already have enough priests and religious who live according to this world and lead astray.
Unless you are totally dedicated to being a man of prayer, you must find another occupation.
Lastly, if you think you know more than your bishop or the Church's 2,000-year history, to the extent that you create an alternative version of reality, free from obedience to superiors - we certainly don't need you. We have more priests like that than we can think of what to do with them.
We need those who think critically, have contact with their conscience, and are aware that they represent something more than themselves.
So unless you want with all your heart to be a servant like Christ, a teacher and leader - yes, but also suffering and dying for your people - this path may not be for you.
BUT if you really feel called to give life for your brothers, give your whole life to proclaim Christ in the darkest corners of the world, through your generosity, patience, hope, love and humbleness, then maybe you are just what we are looking for. We also have such priests and religious among us. The church has had such for centuries. The next generation has not have them yet.
God is still talking, maybe He is talking to you, who are reading this! The question is: will you answer ...?
(based and inspired by the text of Father Casey, an American Franciscan)