Fr. Matthew Spencer’s journey to the priesthood

Are you or someone you love discerning how God is calling you to serve Him and his people? Father Matthew Spencer, host of St. Joseph’s Workshop on Relevant Radio®, joined The Inner Life® to discuss what led him to his vocation as an Oblate of Saint Joseph and how you can discern your own path.

Knowing what a vocation entails is an important part of discernment. “I was in high school and I was convinced that I was going to study chemistry. I wasn’t thinking about vocation discernment; I just had my eyes set on a successful career path and eventually thought I was going to be married and have a bunch of kids. So I was taking chemistry in high school and I loved it for the first year, it was great. And then I took … an advanced chemistry class and I realized, I just don’t want to do this for the rest of my life,” he chuckled. “Everybody has had this experience maybe where we think we want to do one thing, we learn a little bit about it and we realize it’s not what we should be doing. I think this is very important in our discernment process; we have to know what something is about.”

Fr. Matthew shared more about his personal journey to the priesthood:

“I went off and instead studied software engineering and I had a short and successful career in software engineering until I had a very serious health crisis. And for me, what that realization was was that although I had been living my life as a Catholic—I had been a practicing Catholic, I was going to Mass, I was going to Confession regularly, I certainly could have been doing better in many areas, but—I realized at that moment when I had a bleed in my brain, I was in the hospital dying, thinking I wasn’t going to survive, I was 22 years old and I realized I hadn’t done enough for the Lord. Even though I was at peace, even though I had gone to Confession, even though I had received the Anointing of the Sick and was prepared to go to the Lord, I was sad because I realized I had just spent my life on myself.

“So it was after that that I started saying, ‘If I make it through this I need to start living for God and I need to start doing something that is not just about me. So that’s where my discernment to a religious vocation and a priestly vocation started. I started asking myself, “Lord, how can I serve you better? How can I give the gifts that you’ve given to me and put them at the service of the Church? And that took a long time, that took a few years of me exploring what are those gifts that God has given to me, can I do this, is this actually where I am feeling called? I had to investigate; I had to go on vocation retreats; I had to see what the life of priests and what the life of an Oblate of Saint Joseph is like. So that took time, it took a lot of prayer and asking questions, but eventually decided I had to give it a shot … and I never looked back.”

Listen to the full podcast about discernment with Fr. Matthew here.

Lindsey is a wife, mother, and contributing author at Relevant Radio. She holds a degree in Journalism and Advertising from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Lindsey enjoys writing, baking, and liturgical living with her young family.