Often times, priests usually get a bad rap - we get looked at as antiquated fogies who just sit around in the Rectory, popping out to visit the sick on occasion, or to give a blessing at a banquet/gathering, and then showing our faces to do Liturgy on Sundays. Yet the priesthood is not something that is merely based on wearing a cassock/clerical clothes and reciting a few prayers. The priesthood requires excellence from men.
To be a priest, one must not merely embrace a life of prayer. One must be committed to being the best, much like a major league sports player. A priest must strive to be a man of prayer, a spiritual guru, but also a strong masculine presence who is sound of mind, who has a properly formed conscience, and knows how to live and embrace life. Aristotle once described such a man in his Nicomachean Ethics - the great souled man, who strove to live a balanced life, a life of justice, virtue, and thirst for wisdom, who strove to live a life of excellence. Such a man was sound of body, mind, and soul, who was not shy of hard work, who was balanced in his emotion and reason, and through his masculine virtue, sought the light of truth in everything he did.
This is what we seek in men who wish to become priests. When a man undergoes priestly formation in the Church, we seek to enhance those manly virtues that allow him to pursue excellence in his spiritual life, his human life, and his intellectual life. Priestly formation is rigorous by nature, designed to weed out those who shy away from virtue, excellence, and cultivating a deep spiritual relationship with God. To seek the priesthood, you have to be internally motivated to seek out a deep relationship with God and with your fellow men. You have to be willing to work hard and put in the blood, sweat, and tears, because the spiritual and mental/physical challenges (yes, you will be physically challenged as a priest - ever make it through the entire Great Canon of Andrew of Crete doing full prostrations?) will indeed be great once you are chosen by the Church and by God for Holy Orders to the Priesthood.
The challenges are worth it, but to be excellent in what you do, you have to want it deep down inside. You have to be willing to make the sacrifices and do the work in order to succeed. God will be there for you, but He has given you that helping hand right at the end of your arm. Use it to make the Sign of the Cross and commit to yourself and to God that you will pursue excellence in your life. It is there for you, if you are willing to go for it with everything you got.
I'm busy working on my blog posts. Watch this space!