Many people have many different opinions about what constitutes a "good" priestly formation. I have my own "recipe" for the "priestly potter's clay".It is this:
Take equal parts of intellectual stimulation, transformative pastoral care and a creative, imaginative spirit, add several heaping spoonfuls of challenge, a few healthy dollops of questioning and doubt, and several cups of tears and sorrow. Pour into a broken and contrite heart, mixing well with an abiding love for all of God's creation, and a deep passion for God's justice and mercy. Whisk together over some 'fire in the belly' for the painstakingly slow work of finding and creating the "thin spaces" in the world. Fold mixture into the intersection of the sacred and the profane, garnish with a keen appreciation for the absurd and sprinkle liberally with laughter and joy. Allow priestly potters to work with the basic clay mixture until shaped and formed to the glory of God.
I saw this on the Telling Secrets blog, and I wanted to be able to remember it for later.
She talks a bit about becoming a Priest. One part is that of "being called" to the ministry.
Apparently, "being called", can feel like different things to different people. I have heard three such stories since I've been at St. Mary's.
The first story was from my priest, Peter. He said that he didn't ever feel anything big, just a feeling that that's what he should do, and things kept working out, one after another.
The second was from Kiffer, a fellow parishioner at St. Mary's. He said that as a young man, he felt like he was supposed to be a priest. One day he googled it and found the LDS church. He joined that church and went on a mission, but things were lacking. In 2014, he found St. Mary's and attended on Maundy Thursday; he feels that someday he will be an Episcopal Priest.
The third was from Tim, who is a Seminarian right now. He said that he just always felt that he was supposed to be a Priest.
Then there is my own story. I went to church on and off through my childhood. I settled into the LDS church at 15 because I had a crush on a cute, very LDS boy. I loved church! I loved released-time seminary in high school. I loved talking in depth about religion and philosophy. I thought that the best thing ever would be to be a Relief Society President and have my husband be Bishop.
It is interesting the number of times I've been talked to about being the relief society president, or at least in the relief society presidency: 3.
Once by my bishop back when I was 22 or 23. I think he was starting to get dementia. He called me into his office, said that he was going to be calling a new relief society presidency and told me to pick my position. I told him that whatever the Lord wanted to call me to be, I would be happy to serve. When the presidency was formed, another lady who looked very similar to me (same hair style & color and same taste in dresses) was called to be a counselor, and I was called to nothing. Odd.
Another time, when my father-in-law was my branch president, he called me into his office. He told me that he thought I would be an excellent relief society president, since I'd had so many experiences in my life that would help me relate to the ladies, but he felt that wasn't what God wanted me to do right then. He called me to be the secretary.
Then, a few years ago, a friend of mine was called to be the relief society president. She said that she prayed about me being a counselor, but she didn't feel like it was the right thing.
Very interesting stuff, I tell you.
I still love theology. I still love thinking and talking about religion and philosophy. Do I feel like I've "been called"? Who knows. I don't think it is a one time occurrence, but a little niggling in the back of your head that one day you finally understand.
Plus, there are a great many things I'd like to be when I grow up! ;)