Words of Pope John Paul II on Priesthood Vocation

I am often asked, especially by young people, why I became a priest.  Maybe some of you would like to ask the same question.  Let me try briefly to reply.  I must begin by saying that it is impossible to explain entirely.  For it remains a mystery, even to myself.  How does one explain the ways of God?  Yet, I know that, at a certain point in my life, I became convinced that Christ was saying to me what he had said to thousands before me: 'Come, follow me!'  There was a clear sense that what I heard in my heart was no human voice, nor was it just an idea of my own.  Christ was calling me to serve him as a priest.

And you can probably tell that I am deeply grateful to God for my vocation to the priesthood.  Nothing means more to me or gives me greater joy that to celebrate Mass each day and to serve God's people in the Church.  That has been true ever since the day of my ordination as a priest.  Nothing has ever changed this, not even becoming Pope.
- Los Angeles, USA, September 14, 1987


The priestly vocation is essentially a call to sanctity, in the form that derives from the Sacrament of Holy Orders.  Sanctity is intimacy with God; it is the imitation of Christ, poor, chaste and humble; it is unreserved love for souls and self-giving to their true good; it is love for the church which is holy and wants us to be holy, because such is the mission that Christ has entrusted to it.  Each one of you must be holy also in order to help your brothers pursue their vocation to sanctity.
- Rome, Italy, October 9, 1984


Your wish to become a priest, or at least your wish to discover if you are being called to be one.  And so the question is a serious one, because you have to prepare thoroughly, with clear intentions and an austere formation.
- Rome, Italy, October 13, 1979


His calling is a declaration of love.  Your response is commitment, friendship, and love manifested in the gift of your own life as a definitive following and as a permanent sharing in his mission and in his consecrations.  To make up your mind is to love him with all of your soul and all of your heart in such a way that this love becomes the standard and motive of all your actions.  From this moment on, live the Eucharist fully; be persons for whom the Holy Mass, Communion, and Eucharistic adoration are the center and summit of their whole life.  Offer Christ your heart in meditation and personal prayer which is the foundation of the spiritual life.
- Valencia, Spain, November 8, 1982


The world looks to the priest, because it looks to Jesus!  No one can see Christ; but everyone sees the priest, and through him they wish to catch a glimpse of the Lord!  Immense is the grandeur of the Lord! Immense is the grandeur and dignity of the priest!
- Rome, Italy, October 13, 1979


Called, consecrated, sent.  This triple dimension explains and determines your conduct and your lifestyle.  You are 'set apart;' 'segregated,' but not 'separated.'  What would separate you, would be to forget or to overlook the meaning of the consecration that characterizes your priesthood.  To be but one more in your profession, in your lifestyle, in your way of living, in your political obligations, would not help you to fully carry out your mission.  You would betray your own faithful who want you to be priests through and through.
- Valencia, Spain, November 8, 1982