Cloistered Dominican Nuns Corpus Christi Monastery

Called by God? Me?! Eight Steps To Know Your Vocation Part 3 of 3

003 God calls who He wills IMG_2297
Here’s the final post in this series!  If you missed the first two, you can find them here and here.

I pray that the Lord may enlighten you concerning His most holy will.  If He allows you to hear His voice, do not block the ears of your heart, but follow the insights and the inspirations of the Holy Spirit, in spite of the reluctance of nature.  Tell yourself very seriously: What would I wish I had done at the hour of my death, on the day of my judgment?  Right now, do what you need to do so that later you will have accomplished it.  It is a question of a happy or an unhappy eternity…

Do not delay too long, and do not be stingy concerning your soul.

-Bl. Hyacinthe-Marie Cormier, O.P., in a letter to a postulant

Step Six.  If you have prayed to know God’s will for your vocation and you find yourself more and more strongly moved to embrace a particular vocation for proper and holy reasons, do not wait for heaven to dispatch an angel to reveal to you God’s will!  He is answering your prayers by the movements of your heart.  If you are drawn to religious life, your next step is to find a superior of a community and make known to them your intention to pursue the religious vocation.

A note on Contemplative Vocations: Just as God calls whom He wills to consecrated life, there is no particular type of person He calls to the contemplative life.  The cloisters of monasteries are filled with introverts and extroverts, artists and accountants, those who never went to college and those who hold Ph.D.’s.  Consider monastic life if you find yourself experiencing:

•    a sense of God and a thirst for Him – you have a growing realization God is present with you, in you, and you turn to Him more and more throughout the day;
•    a dissatisfaction with everything other than God – no matter your job, friends, family, education, ministries, etc., there just seems to be something missing and you feel torn or divided in your attentions: you have a growing desire simply to be alone with Jesus;
•    a sense of the vanity of all activities, even those that are for God – you volunteer and serve others, yet there’s a certain lack of fulfillment: there’s got to be another way to love more, to reach and embrace more people for Jesus; or
•    a sense of silence and a need of silence that is almost physical and makes it impossible for the soul to rest anywhere but in silence with God – God speaks to our hearts in silence and you long to hear His voice.

Step Seven.  Develop an honest relationship and make yourself known.  Because vocation is a gift from God at service of the Church, a genuine vocation is confirmed by the Church.  With marriage, both persons must freely give and receive each other and go through sufficient preparation before professing marriage vows before the Church.  With a religious vocation, it is confirmed through an order, institute or other recognized religious community.  Just as with a dating/courting relationship, through conversation and correspondence, you come to know the community and the community begins to know you.  Be open and candid about yourself and your desire.  Let the vocation director know your mind, interests, and temperament.  This will help both the community and you come to a more prompt and sure answer about whether you should continue discerning with that community or if God might be calling you elsewhere.

Step Eight.  For religious vocations, if after you have made yourself known, your attraction remains and the community accepts you to continue in the discernment/formation process with them, then you can be assured your desire for a more perfect life comes from God.  Remember, God’s will for your vocation is confirmed by the Church through the community.  If the community feels you are not called to their life, that is just as much an answer to prayer as an acceptance would be and should not be taken as a personal rejection – it simply means that community is not a fit for you and God is calling you somewhere else.  If you are accepted by the community to continue your formation, your discernment with them will continue and deepen through your formation years, but at this point, you have sufficient signs that you should continue pursuing a religious vocation.

Bonus Tip.  Don’t wait!  Sadly, vocation directors often hear from people who now realize they waited too long to answer God’s call, or ran from it completely, and are filled with regret at what “should have been.”  God will never take back His call, but we can lose this precious gift by failing to accept it and cooperate with His grace.  Take the next steps forward to discern your vocation with confidence and faith in God that He will lead and sustain you and your loved ones.

Want to learn more about how to discover the gifts God has given you and about cloistered, contemplative life as a Dominican nun?  Contact Sr. Joseph Marie to register for our upcoming “Come-and-See” Day. The deadline to register is fast-approaching!

Comments are closed.

Post Navigation