“What Me” – A Religious Sister, Brother Or Priest?
Could I be called to religious life as a Sister, Brother or Priest? (Click here to explore the life of a Sister, Brother or Priest). No way! Well, why not? Aren’t religious orders dying? It’s not much fun in life is it? Not in today’s Church and world. But maybe I need to re-think this. (Click here to see Brother Sean’s article, “Why Consider a Church Vocation in Times like These?”)
Sister Joan Chittister, was once asked: “Why would you become a religious today?” Her answer was simple: “Well, why not!” Why not indeed? Religious life continues to be a vibrant life in the Church and in the World. God continues to call men and women to religious life. Lived well, it is a life of deep fulfillment and happiness. It is a life of intimacy with our Loving God and it is a life of love, compassion and commitment to others. In this life there is a special kind of freedom, deep joy, risk of new horizons, and a way of living life to the full! So stop, think, pray, dream and consider again the question: Am I being called to religious Life?
If you are unmarried, have no dependents or serious debts, and you possess the physical and mental health to enter this challenging way of life the Church invites you to reflect on the possibility of living out your call to discipleship in the religious life.
Here are a few signs that you may be being called to religious life:
- You are longing for something more in your life
- You are “bursting” to love with your whole self
- You feel drawn to spend more time in prayer
- You have a deep desire to commit your whole life to God in following Christ
- You are inspired by a religious Sister, Brother or Priest you have met or about whom you have heard or read
- You feel attracted to community and the sharing of your sense of commitment
- You are drawn to the spirit and work of a particular religious community, to being a contemplative, a missionary, an educator, a health care provider, caring for the most vulnerable or poor in our world, working for social justice, committed to ecology for the sake of God’s good creation, for example
- Your “soul friends” and those you trust for spiritual advice are suggesting to you that you may be called in this way
- Somewhere deep inside you suspect you “are being called” – maybe you are even resisting the call!
So what next?
- Pray about these signs and feelings
- Ask God to show you more clearly the road ahead
- Spend some time quietly listening to your heart and to God’s “whisper” in your prayer and in the rest of your everyday life
- Read a book about religious life or check out religious life on the Internet
- Talk with someone you trust spiritually or find a spiritual director
- Join a discernment group
- Ask a priest, Brother or Sister in your parish, school or College to put you in touch with various religious communities
- Write to some communities that especially attract you
- “Go and See” – check out some religious communities, talk with their vocation director and other members, ask for a visit, work alongside them for a while. Build an ongoing relationship with the community that feels to you like a “homecoming”. Most important, don’t be scared, they will help you discern what God is calling you to in your life with “no strings attached”!
- Wait patiently on God … God’s time is not always our time!