What is God's dream for you?
Dear Fr Anthony,
I'm a sophmore in high school and I was wondering, how do you truely know if you are being called to religious life? I went to a Catholic Youth Conference this past summer and they had a vocation call and that got me thinking about becoming a nun. I think it fits my personality and sounds fun to me. I'm just not completely sure what it entails. Like, I think being a counselor from a religious stand point would be great, could I do that and be a nun? And, am I too young to truely have a vocation? I have prayed a lot about it, I just haven't really felt an answer yet.
At the end of this note I am attaching a prayer of Cardinal Newman (Blessed John Henry Newman) that tells us tons about what a vocation is. Like him, you have your mission. It is something that lies in God's heart, a dream he has for you, his plan for you to be the most all-round beautiful you can be, from the inside out. We get inklings of that plan, mostly at a very early age, and then little by little we discover the path, but the full dimensions of our life and the mission God gives us will only be seen in the next, in heaven. All we have to do here is take one step at a time, giving it our best.
If God wants you to give yourself to him as a nun, you will find that such a life "fits" you, and it will be the path of your true happiness. This does not mean it will be easy or that there won't be other things that you are good for as well.
You are right to pray about it, but I think you also need to get a spiritual director - who can be a nun of a congregation that interests you - so as to sort through your feelings and help you understand the way God shows himself in our life.
Now, here's Cardinal Newman's prayer:
1. God was all-complete, all-blessed in Himself, but it was His will to create a world for His glory. He is Almighty, and might have done all things Himself, but it has been His will to bring about His purposes by the beings He has created. We are all created to His glory--we are created to do His will. I am created to do something or to be something for which no one else is created; I have a place in God's counsels, in God's world, which no one else has; whether I be rich or poor, despised or esteemed by man, God knows me and calls me by my name.
2. God has created me to do Him some definite service; He has committed some work to me which He has not committed to another. I have my mission--I never may know it in this life, but I shall be told it in the next. Somehow I am necessary for His purposes, as necessary in my place as an Archangel in his--if indeed, I fail, He can raise another, as He could make the stones children of Abraham. Yet I have a part in this great work: I am a link in a chain, a bond of connection between persons. He has not created me for naught. I shall do good, I shall do His work; I shall be an angel of peace, a preacher of truth in my own place, while not intending it, if I do but keep His commandments and serve Him in my calling.
3. Therefore I will trust Him. Whatever, wherever I am, I can never be thrown away. If I am in sickness, my sickness may serve Him; in perplexity, my perplexity may serve Him; if I am in sorrow, my sorrow may serve Him. My sickness, or perplexity, or sorrow may be necessary causes of some great end, which is quite beyond us. He does nothing in vain; He may prolong my life, He may shorten it; He knows what He is about. He may take my friends, He may throw me among strangers, He may make me feel desolate, make my spirits sink, hide the future from me--still He knows what He is about.
0 my God, I give myself to You. I trust You wholly. You art wiser than I--more loving to me than I myself. Deign to fulfill your high purposes in me whatever they be; work in and through me. I am born to serve You, to be Yours, to be Your instrument. Let me be Your blind instrument. I ask not to see, I ask not to know--I ask simply to be used.