If you are actively discerning a vocation to the Priesthood, Diaconate, Consecrated Life, or Marriage and you are looking for information to help in your discernment, BE SURE TO CHECK the section at the bottom of the right sidebar for the "labels" on all posts. By clicking on one of these labels it will take you to a page with all posts containing that subject. You will also find many links for suggested reading near the bottom of the right sidebar. Best wishes and be assured of my daily prayers for your discernment.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Immitation of Christ #3 - Religious Life

H/t to Vocation-Station

From Religious Vocations: Seven Practical Tips

The following are a few points of advise that one might follow during the discernment process.

1. Take action. Religious communities welcome discerning guests to stay with them. Make arrangements to go visit certain communities for a short period of time (perhaps 4-6 days). They will provide you with free food, shelter, water, shower, bathroom - in short, everything you need. All you need to bring is yourself, changes of clothes, and toiletries.

2. Repeat #1. If a man were to approach marriage in the same way that some people approach discerning religious life, then he would remain single all his life. He might read books about relationships, or research dating on the internet, but would never actually spend time with the woman he is to court, to get to know her personality, to see whether she is to be his future wife. In much the same way, discerning religious life requires more than reading or conducting research on the internet. The more exposure one has to religious communities, the better position they will be in to make an informed decision. At the very least, a person should grant the same amount of exposure to discerning a religious vocation, as was granted to past relationships.

3. Consecrate yourself to the Blessed Virgin Mary, and submit yourself to her Maternal care. Saint Louis De Montfort stated that with Mary, a soul can quickly attain the highest degrees of perfection. Ask the Blessed Virgin to take you by the hand on the path that brings the greatest glory to her Son. And do not be surprised when She does.

4. Avoid relationships with those of the opposite gender. At the very least, give primacy of place to time spent discerning religious life. Give the respect due to the higher calling. If God wants you to be married, then He will send the right person in due time, and you can be sure that it was His will, and not your own.

5. Frequent the Sacraments. Go to confession often, and to daily Mass if possible. Also spend an hour in Eucharistic Adoration daily, if possible. It is unimaginable how many graces God grants a soul through Eucharistic Adoration.

6. Find a competent spiritual director, if at all possible. Do not trust your feelings, but allow God to direct you under the direction of a wise and learned priest.

7. Remember that there is no commitment. Even if you were to formally enter a community as a postulant, you do not take perpetual vows until 4-6 years into religious life. The postulancy and novitiate periods are considered times of ongoing discernment, and a person is free to leave at any point if they feel God calling them elsewhere.

No comments: