How do I understand and prepare for my vocation?
Dear Fr Anthony,
I'm fifteen years old, and seriously considering entering the religious life someday, I've felt the call to become a sister since I was a little girl of about 7 but have flip-flopped over it. Now more than ever I feel like this is my calling. What can I do at my age and throughout my high school years to discern and educate myself about this vocation?
If you have flip-flopped over your vocation it means that not only have you thought about it, but that your feet are on the ground, you have been realistic and have realized that there is one level on which God's things attract us, and another on which we are attracted to other things which are often good in themselves. So we realize that to follow God we have to trust him, be generous and truly love him above all else.
Yet, after all this you still think that this is your calling. This means that you have also been praying, so keep that up, it is the key to everything.
The most important and helpful thing you can do to find what God is calling you to and to prepare yourself for it is to have as your over-riding desire in all you do to love Jesus above all things, and to make your day a conversation with him. That might seem like a tall order, but it is really very simple: Try to make your choices and do everything with the intention of doing as best you can what pleases him. And tell him so, spontaneously, at different times during your day: when you have to do something you enjoy, thank him, do it and enjoy it, for it pleases him to see you happy. When you have to do something difficult for you, tell him it's for him so you are going to do it as well as you can without showing you don't like it and offering up the sacrifice for those who don't know him. And so onâ€¦. If you do this you will find that when you go to Mass and receive him in Communion you will have a lot to speak with him about; when you pray your Rosary, Mary will help you get to know Jesus in the mysteries of his life; when you go to confession, you will find your desire to love him and know him more will increase.
On top of this, you will find that there are things that will pop into your mind and heart to do and offer up for him during your day. That is how the Holy Spirit leads us. Do these, but also try to find a spiritual director because at times we get ideas that we're not sure if they are or not what we should do.
Then make sure you continue to read and learn about your faith and the reasons behind Catholic moral teaching, so that you will know what he wants you to do, and be able to live your convictions freely and explain your reasons to others. And make sure you think of others and find some outreach or service work to do.
Finally, if there is a particular group of sisters you are interested in, start visiting them with your parents' permission.