Until now discerning a particular vocation may well have been quite private and may not go any further. However if the call is strong and persistent then the next step can be to ask the Church to help in the discernment of a vocation.
It is suggested that you approach a priest or another person of faith who is known and trusted and ask them to help see the Lord’s hand at work in my life and to recognise the way in which He is guiding and calling you.
This could lead to introducing a spiritual director or other resources and gatherings to provide the opportunity to explore a consecrated life vocation further.
Here are some of the questions or feeling that may be accoutring at this stage:-
Support from a wise person who knows you well. You may not have a formal ‘spiritual director’ (someone you speak to regularly about your faith), but perhaps there is someone wise and trustworthy that you have chatted to about your vocation over a period of time; you have talked things through with them and they know you quite well. If they affirm what you have said, and it seems to them that you may have a vocation, then this is another more public sign that it may be true. It could be a sign to take things further forward.
A feeling that you are not worthy to be a consecrated person. This might seem like a paradox, but it can be true. Sometimes someone may have a deep feeling that the consecrated life is too much of an ideal for them, that they are not worthy, or not good enough, or not capable enough. These feelings can be a sign of humility, an indication that someone has a healthy sense of their own limitations, and a high sense of the dignity of this calling. The feeling of unworthiness may, strangely, be a sign that someone has a true appreciation for what this vocation means, and that they will be open to asking for God’s help and the help of the Church. It would be worrying if someone thought any kind of Christian commitment was easy; or if they thought they could achieve it through their own efforts.
An attraction to marriage and family life. This might seem a strange point. Obviously, an attraction to marriage and family life is not a sign that you should become a consecrated person. But it is true that someone with a deep and strong pull towards marriage can be called by the Lord to become a consecrated person. God is not playing games and asking you to do what is impossible – to be married and not married at the same time. Rather, you may have a very natural desire for marriage and family, it’s part of who you are as a man or woman, but the Lord might be calling you to let go of that so that you can discover another way of giving your life in love – as a priest or consecrated person. You need to look at all the other signs above; but this section is just to show you that an attraction to marriage does not necessarily mean you should rule out another vocation.
We hope this information will be of help but it is unlikely to be any real substitute for the personal contact required to explore a vocation. Therefore we have group meetings or one-to-ones with no commitment - feel free to ring Father Mark Hogan on 01256 323595 or click here to email.