Scripture and Discernment 

God often speaks clearly as we read and pray with Sacred Scripture. This collection of Scripture passages may be helpful in particularly difficult or confusing circumstances.

Discipleship: Call and Response

Old Testament

Gen 12:1-9 The Call of Abram: Leave your country and family to come
Gen 22:1-19 Faith to obey God: Abraham is commanded to offer Isaac
Gen 37-50 God orchestrates our lives to bring us to our vocation: The Story of Joseph
Exo 3:1-12 The Call of Moses: “I will be with you”
1 Sam 3:1-10 The Call of Samuel: “Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening”
1 Kgs 19:16, 19-21 The Call of Elisha: “’Please let me kiss my father and mother goodbye and I will follow you’…then he left and followed Elijah.”
Isa 6:1-13 The Call of Isaiah: “’Whom shall I send?’…‘Here I am…send me!’”
Isa 42:6-7 “I have called you… I have grasped you by the hand… To open the eyes of the blind.”
Isa 43:1-ff “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine”
Isa 45:4 “I have called you by your name… though you knew me not.”
Isa 49:1-7 “The Lord called me from birth, from my mother’s womb he gave me my name.”
Jer 1:1-10 The call of Jeremiah: “’Lord God,  I know not how to speak.  I am too young…’ ‘Say not I am too young… to whomever I send you, you shall go.’”
Jer 20: 7-9 Jeremiah’s crisis: “You duped me O Lord and I let myself be duped.  You were too strong for me and you triumphed… It seemed like a fire burning in my heart.”
Jer 29: 11-15 “I know well the plans I have in mind for you…to give you a future full of hope.”
Jon 1-3 The Call of Jonah: “The word of the Lord came to Jonah; set out for the great city of Ninevah and preach against it…”

New Testament

Mt 4:18-22 or Mk 1:16-20 Jesus Calls his first disciples: “Come after me and I will make you fishers of men.”
Mt 9: 35-38 Pray for priestly vocations: “The harvest is rich but the laborers are few; beg the harvest master to send out laborers for his harvest.”
Mt 16:24-28 “Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross and follow me.”
Mt 17:1-13 The Transfiguration of Jesus: “This is my beloved Son with whom I am well pleased.  Listen to Him.”
Mt 19: 16-30 or Mk 10: 17-27 The Rich Young Man: “If you wish to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven.  Then come follow me.”
Mt 20:20-28 or Mk 10:35-45 The request of James and John: “Anyone who wants to be great among you must be your servant… just as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for the many.”
Mt 26:17-35 or Mk 14:12-26 or Lk 22:1-38 The Last Supper: “Take and eat; this is my body.  This is the cup of my blood.  Do this in remembrance of me.”
Mt 26:36-46 The Agony in the Garden: “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me; yet not as I will but as you will.”
Mt 28 The Great Commission: “Go ye therefore and make disciples of all the nations.”
Lk 4:18 “The spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring glad tidings to the poor, to proclaim liberty to captives, and recovery of sight to the blind…”
Lk 9:57-62 “’I will follow you but first let me say farewell to my family’… ‘No one who sets a hand to the plow and looks to what was left behind is fit for the Kingdom of God.’”
Jn 2: 1-11 The wedding feast at Cana: “Do whatever He tells you.”
Jn 15:9-17 “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide.”
Jn 10 The Good Shepherd: “When the Good Shepherd has driven out all his own, he walks ahead of him and the sheep follow him, because they recognize his voice.”
Jn 19:1-30 The Mother of priests: “Behold your mother.” The disciple (the priest St. John) took her into his home.
Mk 3:13 The Mission of the Twelve: “He summoned those whom he wanted and they came to him”
Mk 10:28-30 The  Reward of Discipleship: “We have given up everything and followed you…you will  be repaid a hundred times more now in this present age…and eternal life in the age to come.”
Lk 1:26-56 The Call of Mary: The Annunciation: “Behold I am the handmaid of the Lord; may it be done to me according to your word.”
Lk 14:25-33 Jesus on Discipleship: “Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple.”
Jn 1:35-51 The call of the first disciples: “What are you looking for?  Come and see.”
Rom 8:28 “All things work for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.”
1 Cor 1:26-31 God calls who He chooses: “Consider your own calling…Not many of you were wise… Rather God chose the foolish to shame the wise.”
Gal 1:15 “God, who from my mother’s womb, had set me apart and called me through his grace”
Phil 3:10-14 “Forgetting what lies behind but straining forward to what lies ahead…the prize of God’s upward calling in Christ Jesus.”
1 Pt 2:9-10 “God has called you out of darkness into his own marvelous light.”


Mt 16:13-23 “Who do people say that I am?”
Acts 1:15-26 The choice of Matthias
Acts 6:1-6 The selection of the first deacons
Acts 13: 2-4 Paul and Barnabas selected by the Holy Spirit to go and preach
Acts 15:28 “It is the decision of the Holy Spirit and of us.”
Rom 8:14-17 “You did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear.”
Rom 12:1-2 “Do not conform yourself to this age…that you may discern what is the will of God.”
1 Cor 2: 7-12 “This God has revealed to us…so that we may understand.”
1 Cor 12:4-11 “There are different kinds of spiritual gifts but the same Spirit.”
Gal 5:16-26 The works of the flesh
Eph 1: 3-14 “In him we were also chosen.”
Eph 1:17 “A spirit of wisdom and revelation resulting in knowledge of him.”
1 Jn 4:1-3 “Do not trust every spirit but test the spirits to see whether they belong to God”

The Priesthood

Jn 13:1-14 The washing of the Disciples’ feet
1 Pet 2:2-10 “Come to him…let yourselves be built…to be a holy priesthood.”
Heb 4:12-16 Jesus, the compassionate high priest
Heb 5:1-10 “Every high priest is taken from among men”
Heb 10:10-17 “Every priest stands daily at his ministry”
Heb 3: 7-11 “If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.”
Heb 7:17 “You are a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.”
Heb 8:3 “Now every high priest is appointed to offer gifts and sacrifices.”

Celibacy and Virginity

1Cor.7:-34 “I should like you to be free of anxieties.  An unmarried man is anxious about the things of the Lord, how he may please the Lord.  But a married man is anxious about the things of the world, how he may please his wife, and he is divided.
Mt 19:10-12 “Some are incapable of marriage because they were born so; some, because they were made so by others; some, because they have renounced marriage for the sake of the kingdom of heaven.  Whoever can accept this ought to accept it.”
Lk 18:29-30 “Anyone who has given up house or wife or brothers… for the sake of the  Kingdom of God will receive back an overabundant return in this present age and eternal life in the age to come.”
Hos 2:21-22 “I will espouse you to me forever; I will espouse you in fidelity and you shall know the Lord…”

Scriptures for Particular Circumstances

I’m not holy enough: Isa 6:1-9; Lk 5:1-11
I’m afraid I will fail: Ex 14: 10-31; Lk 15
I’ve made mistakes and I’m a sinner: Jn 21:15-23; Mt 9:9-13; Lk 7:36-50
I’m too young: 1 Sam 3:1-18; 1 Sam 16:1-13; Jer 1:4-10; Lk 1:26-3
I’m not talented enough: 1 Sam 17:32-51; Lk 1: 26-38
I want to have a family: Gen 12:1-3; Mt 12:46-50; Mk 10:28-30
I want “the good life”: Mk 10:17-31; 1 Cor 2:9; Mt 13:44-46; Jn 10:10; Mt 16:24-27
I’m afraid of making a permanent commitment: Ruth 1:15-17;    Mt 28:16-20; 1 Cor 12:5-10
I’m afraid of public speaking: Ex 4:10-17; Jer 1:4-10; Jer 1: 9-10
I’m not smart enough: 2 Cor 4:7-18; Ex 4:10-17
I’m afraid of being alone: Ex 3:4-22; Lk 1:28-38; Mt 28:20
I want to be happy: Ps 37:4; Mt 5: 1-12; Jn 10:10; Mk 10:28-31; 1 Cor 2:9
I’m filled with fear: 1Jn 4:18 “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear.”

Six Common Myths About The Priesthood: A Guide For Parents

Year after year, in surveys of newly ordained priests, over half report that their families opposed the idea of priesthood when they first expressed interest. Undoubtedly, parents want the best for their children. So what about priesthood does not fit parents’ vision of “the good life”? Let’s look are six common myths about seminary and priesthood.

Myth #1 “He’s Too Young.”

Many parents, when their young son expresses an interest in seminary, will dispense well-meaning advice: “Get some life experience first—and at least a college degree—then think about seminary later.” Mom and dad envision that with a nice girlfriend and a good job, the idea of priesthood will fade away.
The problem is, they may be right. That’s why it’s crucial that when God moves the heart of a young man to explore the priesthood, parents should trust God that the timing may be right. True, in some cases an 18-year-old may not be mature enough to enter seminary right out of high school. But many are ready. College seminaries are places of joy, camaraderie, and deep spiritual growth. Even if your son goes to college seminary and eventually discerns he is not called to priesthood, don’t think he’ll have to “make up for lost time.” Thousands of former seminarians look back on their seminary days with great affection and gratitude!

Myth #2 “He’ll Be So Lonely.”

This is an easy myth to dispel. Priests are surrounded by people! After all, their job is to bring Jesus to people and people to Jesus. They are continually working with parish staff, youth, and a myriad of people who come to them for spiritual advice. Seminaries today are very deliberate in teaching men how to form good, healthy relationships with people in their parishes and the priests of their dioceses. Sure, there can be lonely moments—but the same is true in any vocation, marriage included. Most priests have healthy friendships with brother priests, lay people, and family that keep them grounded and connected.

Myth #3 “Celibacy Is Impossible.”

For couples who enjoy a healthy sexual relationship, it can be difficult to image their son choosing “life without a wife.” Society would have us believe that celibacy is impossible, or at the very least, unreasonable. The truth is that sexual love is indeed one of God’s greatest natural gifts, but that thousands of saints have experienced tremendous joy living the supernatural vocation of celibacy. Today’s seminaries offer superb formation in how to live celibately with peace and joy. Read more about celibacy

Myth #4 “I Won’t Have Grandchildren.”

When a mother of a priest was asked at her only child’s ordination if she was sad she would never have grandchildren, she responded, “It’s not about me.” She was simply grateful that her son had found God’s will for his life. Many parents of priests are surprised to find that they gain “spiritual grandchildren”—thousands of people whose lives have been profoundly influenced by their son’s priesthood. There is a special joy in meeting people who exclaim, “You’re Fr. Jacob’s mother? He’s such a great priest!”

Myth #5 “I’ll Lose My Son”

Some parents think that if their son becomes a priest, they’ll never see him. One young priest laughed at this idea. “When Thanksgiving rolls around and my brothers and sisters are busy with their children and in-laws, guess what? As a priest, I don’t have any of those ties. It’s me carving the turkey with mom and dad!” His point is that diocesan priests are able to spend a healthy amount of time with family.  If the priest’s assignment is far from home, in the Internet age, social media and Skype make it easy to keep in touch.

Myth #6 “He’ll Be Unhappy”

This is the “umbrella fear” that encompasses all the others. It’s also the easiest to dismiss, because the facts prove otherwise. A number of studies about happiness invariably find one profession ranked number one: clergy. There is even a recent book, based on a very large study, titled “Why Priests Are Happy.” The author, Msgr. Stephen Rosetti, finds that 92% of priests report being happy, and that the key factor in this happiness is an “inner peace.”

The Ideal Parent

The ideal Catholic parent understands a simple truth: that God desires your child’s happiness even more than you do! If your son experience a genuine call from the Lord to pursue the priesthood, trust in God’s love for your son!
From the earliest years, make it clear to your children that God has a plan for them. Read them Bible stories of Jesus calling his disciples. Engage in open conversations about your children’s hopes and dreams. Make sure that they understand the various vocations to marriage, priesthood, and religious life. Above all, teach them how to pray and serve others.
If your child does express an interest in priesthood, be supportive. Fr. Brett Brannen, in the book To Save a Thousand Souls, described the ideal parent as one who is at peace with God’s will, who says, essentially, “I will pray for you and support you as you go to seminary… and I will be equally proud of you if discern that you must leave seminary.”