The Vocation to Religious (‘Consecrated’) Life
Jesus is walking in our midst, as he did in Galilee. He walks through our streets, and he quietly stops and looks into our eyes. His call is attractive and intriguing. Yet today the stress and quick pace of a world constantly bombarding us with stimuli can leave no room for that interior silence in which we can perceive Jesus’ gaze and hear his call. In the meantime, many attractively packaged offers will come your way. They may seem appealing and exciting, although in time they will only leave you feeling empty, weary and alone. Don’t let this happen to you, because the malstrom of this world can drive you to take a route without real meaning, without direction, without clear goals, and thus thwart many of your efforts. It is better to seek out that calm and quiet that enable you to reflect, pray, look more clearly at the world around you, and then, with Jesus, come to recognize the vocation that is yours in this world.
In discerning your vocation, do not dismiss the possibility of devoting yourself to God in the priesthood, the religious life or in other forms of consecration. Why not? You can be sure that, if you do recognise and follow a call from God, there you will find complete fulfillment.
-Pope Francis, Christus Vivit 277, 27
The call to religious life is always marked by a desire to serve God and God’s people, to care for the needy and to bring people to experience God’s love. But, since ministry is a part of every vocation, service is not the distinguishing characteristic of a call to consecrated life as a member of a religious congregation. The uniqueness of the call to religious life is in living the vows of poverty, chastity and obedience in community. The essential service of the religious men and women is to witness to all the faithful that each of us is called to treat things, persons, and our own self with respect and as ultimately belonging to God. At the heart of the call to religious life is a desire to give oneself to God in a way so total that the pursuit of union with God makes it impossible for anyone or anything to be more central. One becomes unavailable for marriage!
Signs of a Call to Religious (‘Consecrated’) Life
- Love of God that manifests itself in a desire to give ones life as a witness to the immensity of God’s love for all people.
- Ability to relate with a variety of people, to be happy alone or in a group
- Joy in serving others in any outreach or parish involvement.
- Ability to listen to others and accept direction when needed.
- Desire to love expansively rather than needing an intimate relationship with one person.
- Desire to grow in union with God through prayer and service of the needy.