By this time you may have already travelled a difficult and challenging road. There will have been doubts, fears and uncertainty - you have questioned yourself and others about whether you:
- do you really know that God loves you and has called you by name?
- know God wants you to live out your life in response to that call to holiness and your baptism into God’s “chosen race, royal priesthood, holy nation”. (1 Pet 2:9)
- want to respond generously to that call. discerning- lead a good Christian life
Still if the call is there then you may be ready now to offer yourself to God through this vocation.
With regard to your vocation, if the vocation director, or other their equivalent, agrees that you are ready, they begin the formal application. This might include writing about my faith journey; a psychological assessment, undergoing safeguarding checks; a selection weekend with interviews looking at my relationship with God and others as well as my academic ability (to check I will be able to cope with the studies).
There will also be an interview with the Religious Superior, who is responsible for the final decision.
In a sense this can be the most daunting part of the journey for many, because it’s the time when rejection is possible. What if the Church doesn’t agree that I have a vocation to consecrated life? This, though, is why this section is about “offering” myself to the Church rather than “forcing” myself upon the Church. You have heard what you genuinely think is a call from God but the Church has a right to say whether or not she too recognises that call from God in you, at this stage, just as a man or woman has the right to say no if someone asks for their hand in marriage. What is the right attitude for me to adopt, then, at this stage? Perhaps it is one of submission to God’s will. It is a letting go of control and handing things over into God’s hands. After all, is it not into God’s loving hands that we wish to place our entire life..?
I abandon myself into your hands;
do with me what you will.
Whatever you may do, I thank you:
I am ready for all, I accept all.
Let only your will be done in me,
and in all your creatures -
I wish no more than this, O Lord.
Into your hands I commend my soul:
I offer it to you with all the love of my heart,
for I love you, Lord, and so need to give myself,
to surrender myself into your hands without reserve,
and with boundless confidence,
for you are my Father.
Charles de Foucauld