Is God calling you?
Help with Discernment?
enlighten the darkness of my heart,
and give me True Faith, Certain Hope and Perfect Charity, Sense and Knowledge, Lord, that I may carry out
Your Holy and True Command.
“Do you think I have a vocation?”This question is posed to us from time to time by young women who are considering the possibility of becoming a religious sister.
We usually respond with, “Yes, everyone has a vocation.
A better question to ask is, ‘What vocation am I being called to?’”
Each person reading this article is currently living out a vocation. There are three states of life, or vocations:
- a call to be married
- a call to be single
- or a call to live out a religious vocation as a priest or religious brother or sister.
A vocation is a call by God to a particular state in life. For God tells us in Jeremiah 1:5, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I dedicated you, a prophet to the nations I appointed you.” And again in Jeremiah 29:11, “I know well the plans I have in mind for you, says the LORD, plans for your welfare, not for woe! plans to give you a future full of hope.” This is good news! We have a God who has loved us in to being and wants us to be happy! In fact, He “alone probes the mind and tests the heart” (Jer. 17:10). Knowing what will make us supremely happy - not the fleeting happiness of emotions, but the peace and joy that He alone can give – He calls each one to the very vocation we are best suited to.
Each vocation is a call to love. In the married state this is very obvious, the spouses are call to love a particular person. We know through the example of Jesus Christ and from the teachings of Our Church, that true married love is a total, mutual gift of self, one to another - no matter what it may cost us, thinking only about what is best for the other. St. Paul has told us that the spouses should, “love each other as Christ loved the Church” and “handed Himself over for her,” so that “the two shall become one flesh” (Ephesians 5:21, 25, 31). And in the wisdom of Pope Paul VI in his encyclical Humanae Vitae, we learn that this kind of love needs to be free, total, faithful and fruitful. Free from attachments to others, “so that husband and wife become in a way one heart and one soul;” Total, “that very special form of personal friendship in which husband and wife generously share everything, allowing no unreasonable exceptions and not thinking solely of their own convenience;” “Faithful and exclusive of all other, and this until death…that it is the source of profound and enduring happiness;” and Fruitful, for, “children are really the supreme gift of marriage and contribute in the highest degree to their parents' welfare.”
A religious vocation, whether to the priesthood or religious life, is also a call to love. There is a certain spousal aspect to this love as well, Our Lord being the “Other” in this relationship. Every human person is called to union with God, but in a special way one with a religious vocation Frees him/herself to offer everything that they are and have, freeing themselves from the obstacles which could hinder the totality of their response. In this way they will become true signs of Christ in the world” (Vita Consecrata #25). This dedication and love for God is lived in a Total gift of self to Him, giving oneself generously, “for the sake of the Kingdom of Heaven” (Matthew 19:12). A religious is Faithful to God exclusively in perfect continence with a love that is, “a manifestation of dedication to God with ‘an undivided heart’ (1 Cor. 7:32-34)…the love to which the Incarnate Word bears witness even to the point of giving his life” (Vita Consecrata #21). The Fruitfulness of the religious, “lies in the fact that all are called to become saints which cannot fail to inspire more and more those who by their very choice of life have the mission of reminding others of that call” (Vita Consecrata #39).
The vocation to remain single in the world is also a call to, “love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind” (Mt 22:37) “An unmarried man is anxious about the things of the Lord, how he may please the Lord… An unmarried woman or a virgin is anxious about the things of the Lord, so that she may be holy in both body and spirit” ( 1Cor 7:32-34).
For someone who is asking the question, “to what vocation am I called?” what is needed is an openness to doing God’s Will in their lives. A person set on this intention, growing each day closer to the Lord through participation in a sacramental life and daily prayer (especially prayer before Our Lord Jesus Christ, Truly & Substantially Present in the Blessed Sacrament) will be led by Him to the perfect vocation which will give them ultimate fulfillment.
If you are a single, practicing
between the ages of 20 and 35; have strong Pro-Life convictions,
are determined to uphold the dignity of every human person; & feel called to serve God as a religious sister in a Franciscan Community
of dedicated and prayerful women, contact us at:
P.O. Box 122070
Covington, KY 41012-2070