How do I explore a Vocational Calling?
Once you start thinking that you may have a vocation, you are faced with the obvious question, WHERE?
There are two levels to the answer to this question:
1. General vocation. Usually, but not always, you begin your search with a certain inkling of which general vocation you might be called to. The general headings are:
a. For men: Diocesan priest; priest or brother in active religious life or monastic/contemplative life; lay consecrated life.
b. For women: active religious life, monastic/contemplative life, lay consecrated life.
2. Specific Group. This is where we usually run into most of our practical difficulties. There seem to be many possibilities for each of the categories in point one. So how do we narrow it down to one?
3. Priesthood: Which diocese or which religious family should I enter?
4. Religious or lay consecration for men and women: which particular religious family or group should I enter?
Since there is such a variety of groups and missions, we may feel overwhelmed and at a loss faced with so many possibilities. Here are some guidelines to help you.
1. 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.
2. Therefore you do not have to chase down every possibility, find out about every diocese, investigate every seminary, convent, monastery and ecclesial movement.
3. What depends on you is not the call but the answer.
4. Check up on the signs of a possible vocation, to see if you have them.
5. If you can, get a spiritual director.
6. 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.
7. Your interest is only one ingredient of the vocation. The second is their interest in you…
8. 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.
1. Visit the places that interest you.
2. Spend some time with them to get to know the lifestyle
3. See if there is a “click”, if you feel at home there.
4. Speak with their vocation director.
5. Stop thinking about yourself.
6. Start thinking about how you can help others.
8. Receive the Sacraments regularly (Eucharist and Confession).
9. Talk with your own spiritual director.
10. Don’t worry if you are a little afraid, it means you have your head on.
11. Don’t worry what your friends might think. This is between you and Christ.
12. 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.