The Vocation

The Lord calls all Men to the fulfillness of life in the communion of His salvation which He offered us by His death and resurrection. Furthermore, He calls some, similarily to the Apostoles, to leave everything there and to follow Him.

1. God calls

The priestly vocation is brought to light first by a loving call of the Lord, but it is sown by God who puts in certain hearts the desire to be consecrated all to Him in order to announce the mystery of salvation to all Men. Concretely, this call is often manifested in discrete ways, which must be recognized. It goes through three particular elements: desire, experience, and aptitudes. A profound desire to be united to Christ, to evangelize, and to serve God wholeheartedly; the experience of a great joy in a time consecrated to God such as during an act of charity or prayer; and the personal aptitudes. Through these, the call’s existence may be discerned. ; being a priest is in fact both the acceptance of an invitation from God and the response to the most profound desires of the heart.

We must specify: God calls freely whoever He wants, without any consideration for the merits. The Apostle is not chosen because he might be better than others – as we may observe in the numerous faults of St. Peter, head of the Apostolic College. God does not choose the bests, He chooses “those He wants” (Mark 3.13).

His call can only be heard in the silence of heart. Meanwhile, this call is eminently personal, it meets with what is most profound in our soul, and reveals the best part of our self.

2. Discernement of the Church and formation

An intensification of the personal Christian life will be favourable for this first discernment: taking regular times of silent prayer, meditation of the Word of God, going to mass more frequently, going to confession regularly, reading spiritual books, getting closer to the Virgin Mary by praying the rosary.

Because a confusion must not be done between a call from God and a personal ideal, it is good to share this reflection with a spiritual director, and it will be a great opportunity to start a relation of spiritual direction which will certainly be beneficial anyway.

Taking a privileged time of intimacy with God is also very favourable to the discernment of the vocation. It can be done through a retreat in a monastery or religious community.

Discernement retreats in Évron

In addition to two getaway retreats for young men and women each year, the Community of Saint Martin offers two discernment retreats more specifically oriented for young men desiring to ask themselves serenely the question of the priesthood (Christmas and Easter).

3. Speak, Lord, for your servant hears

If the desire is genuine, without having waited for years nor for irrefutable proofs that we are called, we can call the head of the seminary to entrust our desire or questions to him. Trust: he is not a recruiting agent, he has no interest in admitting a young man who would not be in his place because it would hurt both him and the Community. The discussion with the director will determine what happens next: whether it is better to keep discerning  or to enter seminary right away. Anyway, the first three years of seminary are oriented towards discernment and it takes a long time to become a priest, but the formation is comprehensive and allows to consider very seriously the question, once in seminary.

The call is then discerned by the church. Indeed, if the vocation is first felt as a personal desire in response to a call from God, it is at the same time an “objective” call from the Church, to whom the Lord gave the responsibility to continue his mission. Thus, in seminary, we can talk about a “double discernment” : the discernment of the young man who gives himself to God in the intimacy of his heart, and he one of the Church through the voice of the priests in charge of the formation. Thus, during the time of formation, and especially during the first couple years, the seminarian is expected to sharpen his discernment and to confront it to time. This is his personal responsibility even though he will do it with the help of a spiritual director, and by meeting regularly with the head of formation and the head of the community.

The Martinian Vocation

The priests in the Community of Saint-Martin are attracted to the common life, and are available for the necessary mobility of the mission.

The House of Formation welcomes young men who wish to become priests within the Community. It is a privileged place to listen to the Holy Spirit, allowing to discern more deeply the call of God, in the sight of the Church. The seminarians also receive the necessary human, intellectual, and spiritual formation for the priestly and deacon ministry.

To enter in the Community of Saint-Martin, there is a mandatory meeting with the head of formation, don Louis-Hervé Guiny. It is also possible to do some stays in the seminary before entering in order to get acquainted with the Community and the priests in charge of the formation.

After six years of study, the seminarian may be ordained deacon. After another year, usually spent in a parish, he may be ordained priest. The seminarians of the Community of Saint-Martin are called to the sacred Orders by the Head of the Community.

The priests’ fraternal life and their common ministry in the apostles’ image are privileged ways to practise Christ’s priesthood and to live as radical followers as participants of His unique priesthood, which is the occasion to tend towards an authentic charity, capable of shinning upon the whole parish. For these reasons, this way of life has been strongly encouraged by the Second Vatican Council and by the Magisterium.

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