There’s a lot of pressure when you’re young to know what you will do with the rest of your life. People are always asking what you want to do when you grow up. Although the world likes to organize your future by job title–doctor, lawyer, accountant–we Catholics see things differently. Some people are called to be single, others are called to be married, and still others are called to the priesthood or religious life.
So guys, has the thought ever crossed your mind that you might be called to be a priest or a brother? Ladies, have you felt the tug towards the sisterhood? If you answered “yes”, then maybe it’s time to take steps towards finding out if this is for real. So grab your journal and take an hour alone in your room or at the chapel. Commit to writing honest answers to these questions:
- Imagine Jesus looking you in the eye, calling you by your first name, and saying, “What is it you really want?” Spend time with the question. Tell Jesus all that you hope for in life. Then spend time listening to His response to your dreams. (What is the desire of your heart?)
- Imagine yourself five or ten years from now. Do you want to continue in life as you are now? Imagine yourself as a vowed religious or as a priest ten years from now.
- Fantasize by going through an entire day in your future as a religious brother, sister, or priest. Visualize yourself doing what they does. How does your gut react to this exercise?
- What is the most satisfying part of your week? What does that say about you?
- What was the last major decision you made about your life? How did you come to that decision? Was it a good one? What can you learn from that experience about your vocation discernment?
- Make a list of all the reasons it wouldn’t be a good idea for you to become a religious sister, brother, or priest. Then make a list of all the reasons why it would be good! Which one weighs more? Bring the list before God in prayer and listen.
- What advice would you give someone in your shoes regarding a vocation as a priest or as a religious? Do you take your own advice?
- Reflect on religious sisters and/or brothers/sisters who have been mentors for you. Which qualities would you like to imitate if you were called?
Once you’re done with these questions, don’t just toss the journal in your closet and forget about it. Keep it close to you in times of prayer so you can scribble your thoughts. Let this journal be an ongoing conversation with God.
If through it all you feel like maybe God’s calling you to be a priest or a nun, don’t be afraid to take the next step. Have the courage to call the Vocations Director of your diocese. They’re job is not to “recruit you” into becoming a priest or nun, but their job is to help you discern what God has in store for you. No pressure!
Always remember, God only wants what is best for you. So don’t be afraid of saying “yes” to Him.