+ad radicem crucis+ (his_bee) wrote in womenvocations,
+ad radicem crucis+

a helpful article

i was sent this article by a Passionist Nun during my discernment many years ago, and even as i read it today, it still holds much truth. i thought it might be helpful for some here as well.

Could God Be Calling You?
from Vision Magazine 1993

The call to religious life varies greatly. For some it is a mystery of divine love from the beginning. For others it is a desire for union with God that is so overwhelming it outweighs all other considerations. For still others the call comes in the form of an inexplicable yearning that keeps on returning until the objct of one's yearning becomes known: God.

Yet for these, and for many others who experience less well-defined calls, questions at some point or another arise: Who, me? Called to relitious life? Are you serious? How could God be calling me? If such questions sound familiar, perhaps this article is for you. 

Common Factors in the Call
While the invitation to religious life is a personal and unique experience, there are some common elements. For example, the call is persistent. It just won't go away. It may disappear for a few months or even a few years, but then it comes back -- perhaps even more insistent than ever.

Another common experience is that, despite fulfilling employment or professional success, something is missing in life -- a "something" satisfied only by God and his work.

Finally, another commonality in the call to religious life is that it is not our own choice as we choose a career. "It was not you who chose me," says Jesus to his apostles in his last discourse, "but I who chose you..." (Jn. 15:16).

Sometimes, the reason for the choice are not immediately known. In fact, the choice may even seem counterintuitive. "Does God really know who He is calling?" may be our response and it is likely we may not be able to come up with an answer except that provided by the prophet Isaiah (55:8), "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, or are your ways my ways, says the Lord."

On the other hand, the reason for the call may "seem" quite apparent. Of course, God called this particular person. It's so obvious. She makes such a good administrator, and that order needs good administrators at this time. Or, he's so prayerful. How could he possibly be anything other than a priest?

Yet, it may not be our strengths at all for which we are chosen but rather our weaknesses -- for God chooses the weak and makes them strong. Indeed, if we look at Jesus' choice of disciples, it rather looks as if he prefers those whom the world would not. But then, "God's folly is wiser than men" (1 Cor. 1:25).

Saying Yes
In talking of response to call, someone once said, "It wasn't my idea, but i said 'yes.'" Mary also said "yes" and her "yes" -- humble, prompt, unhesitating, total -- has served as a model for many down through the centuries. "I am the servant of the Lord," she said. "Let it be done to me as you say" (Lk. 1:38). Furthermore, her consequent joy in affirming her call (Lk. 1:46-55) defies improvement: Even as she revels in her joy, she gives all credit to God, her Savior.

Humility and joy are, in fact, two outstanding signs of vocation -- although neither our humility nor our joy will be as perfect as Mary's. Still, a humble reaction to one's call is so important it even becomes part of the basis of discerning who does and does not have a vocation. It seems paradoxical. those who think themselves worthy of religious life, aren't. Those who think they are not good enough, are -- or at least they have the humility it takes to make a start.

While Mary was sinless, however, we are not. All of us at some point or another have experienced the fact of our sinfulness. Sometimes when we get our first inkling that Jesus has designs for us in religious life, the awareness of our sinfulness rises up like a threat. 

That's the way it was with Peter. He, the expert fisherman, had not caught a single fish all night when Jesus asked him to put down the nets again. The result was a miraculously huge catch of fish. Clearly Peter saw he was not worthy of the person in whose presence he found himself.

"Leave me, Lord," Peter responded, "for I am a sinful man" (Lk. 5:8) Fear -- that's what Jesus saw in Peter's reply. Jesus responded to that fear by saying simply, "Do not be afraid. From now on you will be catching men" (Lk. 5:10). That reassurance was enough for Peter, and it continues to reassure us today.

Party Time
Other times, despite the fact that we are sinners, the call of Jesus -- far from overwhelming us with fear -- fills us with joy and the desire to celebrate. Such was the experience of Levi, the tax collector. When Jesus called him, he immediately responded. Not only did he leave everything behind, he went out and threw a big party in celebration and invited all his friends to meet Jesus. All his friends, however, were other tax collectors and sinners. 

No matter. Jesus went and, when criticized by the self-righteous, rebuked them by saying, "I have not come to invite the self-righteous to a change of heart, but sinners" (Lk. 5:32)

Still there are others who, like Magdalen, are so drawn by the call that they abandon all else to follow Jesus without turning back, even in the face of all the pain and ignominy entailed in following Jesus to Calvary. It's as if Magdalen by her presence beneath the cross wanted to assuage the pain of God.

That pain continues today as a consequence of sin and indifference and in all the sufferings of God's people. And we who feel the call to religious life? We want to do the same.

Called -- who me? Perhaps. Only you and god really know, but if you think the answer might be yes, then act on that inspiriation.

-- Written by the Passionist Nuns of St. Louis Missouri

if you liked that article, i have workbook for discernment that i intend to type up and post here as well. it just might take me a few days. 
May our Crucified Lord guide you all to your true vocation. You will all be in my prayers.
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