How do I explore a Calling to Consecrated Life?
Once you start thinking that you may have a vocation to Consecrated Life, you are faced with the obvious question, WHERE?
There are two levels to the answer to this question:
- General vocation. Is God calling me to be a priest, brother or nun in active religious life or monastic/contemplative life?
- Specific Group. This is where we usually run into most of our practical difficulties. There seem to be so many possibilities. So how do we narrow it down to one? Which religious family should I enter?
Here are some guidelines to help you.
- Renew your belief in God’s providence. God is the one calling you, he will make sure you have the opportunity to meet the group he is calling you to.
- Therefore you do not have to chase down every possibility, find out about every seminary, convent, monastery and ecclesial movement.
- What depends on you is not the call but the answer.
- Check up on the signs of a possible vocation, to see if you have them.
- If you can, get a spiritual director – your parish priest or vocations promoter/director might be able to help you find one.
- Many dioceses have a discernment group where you can meet and pray with others (often these are mixed groups) and help each other to discern God’s calling – here in Portsmouth Diocese we have a group for those aged 16-30 as well as opportunities for those who are slightly older. For more information contact the vocations promoter firstname.lastname@example.org
- In most cases, we already have some contact with or knowledge of the group God is calling us to as we begin our search. Start looking into the ones you are already familiar with.
- Your interest is only one ingredient of the vocation. The second is their interest in you…
- There is always an element of risk in following the vocation. Rarely will you be 100% of your vocation, but you should be 100% sure that you want to try it.
- Visit the places that interest you.
- Spend some time with them to get to know the lifestyle
- See if there is a “click”, if you feel at home there.
- Speak with their vocation director.
- Stop thinking about yourself.
- Start thinking about how you can help others.
- Receive the Sacraments regularly (Eucharist and Confession).
- Talk with your own spiritual director.
- Don’t worry if you are a little afraid, it means you have your head on.
- Don’t worry what your friends might think. This is between you and Christ.
- Remember, you are not alone in this. Most people now living their vocation have been through it, and are more than ready to aid you in your discernment. Many people you do not know and who don’t know you are praying for you.