Most people called to religious life have experienced several (but not all) of the following.
Uncommon Passion for the Faith – People who enter religious life are alive with anything that has to do with God and their Faith. This zeal to live and share God’s love burns within them. They cannot let it lie dormant.
Sense of Responsibility – The harvest is great, but laborers are few. If those who are called don’t respond, how will our faithful people receive the gifts that religious men and women bring to our world? People who respond to the call of religious life do so partially because of a sense of responsibility to their Catholic brothers and sisters. They see that their personal gifts can be used for others.
Can’t Shake the Possibility of Religious Life – No matter who they are dating, the job they have, the car they are driving or the house they own, the idea of religious life keeps popping up in the minds of those who are called to it.
Attracted to Serving God and Others – At their deepest level, people who enter a religious community will often say that serving God and God’s people are the things that bring them a deep sense of joy.
Scary but Thrilling at the Same Time – Fear often accompanies the call to religious life. Initially, a person may think of all the reasons he or she could never become a religious. But there’s also a thrill at the same time: the thrill that comes when we think, “Maybe I could be good at that” or “Maybe I could do something remarkable with my life.”
Envisioning Oneself Taking on Some Role of Religious Life – Many of those who become a religious priest, sister or brother will speak about having envisioned themselves as being effective at some aspect of service: preaching, visiting the sick, working with youth, evangelizing, working with the poor etc.
Others Have Said, “You’d make a Good Religious.” – God often speaks to us through other people. Those who have been called to religious life often have been told by friends, family members, co-workers or fellow parishioners that they have the qualities to make a fine religious brother, sister or priest.
Can’t I Do the Same Thing? Our brothers and sisters in the single or married life, minister in many of the same ways our religious sisters, brothers do. The heart of the vocation to religious life is not what we do but who we are as women and men who have given their entire lives to God and God’s people. The vows of chastity, poverty and obedience that a religious professes, defines who we are. It is the essence of what distinguishes the ministry of a single or married person from that of a religious.
If you’d like to talk more about any of these signs, Sisters Lorren Harbin and Dian Hall make up the Vocations Team for the Sisters of St. Joseph of Concordia. Sister Lorren is in Colorado; you can reach her at 970/260-2287 or email@example.com. Sister Dian is in Georgia; her phone number is 770/546-6461 and her email is firstname.lastname@example.org.