June 26, 2006
The American Heritage dictionary explains one meaning of vocation as "an inclination, as if in response to a summons, to undertake a certain kind of work, especially a religious career; a calling." Even though the term is used in many other ways, for our purposes we will use the term as a call of God.
Pope John Paul II in a message given at Rome on April 29, 1997 stated that this call "stems from the heart of the mystery of God." In every age and generation God has called people and continues to call whomever He wills to leave all and follow Him through a consecrated life of service in the Church.
A Personal Call
The call of God is personal and it implies that no two persons have been called in exactly the same way. However, there are some elements that are common to every call. I'll give them to you in the form of some . . .
- Grow in your communion with God through prayer and reception of the sacraments, especially the Holy Eucharist and Reconciliation. These strengthen and enable us to become spiritually sensitive and alert to the voice of God who is the Caller. Just like sheep who recognize the voice of their shepherd, we must become familiar with the way God speaks to us and be able to identify His voice among the many others that clamor for our attention.
- Commit to reading and reflecting on the Holy Scriptures. God speaks powerfully through His Word. Look at the way God called different people in the Scriptures: Abraham, Moses, Samuel, David, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Mary, Paul, Timothy, the Apostles, and many others. They lived at different times and were of different ages when God called them.
- Have an openness and a willingness to surrender to the will of God. Putting God first must be our aim; and a desire to do His will our motivation.
- Have faith and trust in the faithfulness of God. In the face of many unknowns we can be confident that God will never ever fail or abandon those who have put their trust in Him.
- Take Mary as your model to imitate and say, "Yes" like she did. This will demand commitment and dedication.
- I recommend that you find a spiritual director, either a priest, or a spiritually mature person who shows the fruit from a life of prayer and a love for the Church, and where you will feel the freedom to share your heart and receive good spiritual guidance.
If you receive and faithfully follow the above advice, you will not find it difficult to know if you have the possibility of a religious vocation.
Sister Rita, DLJC