Sorry to join late, OP, hopefully you are still there.
Some observations, which make me question whether Sparki & Smichhertz’s advice is complete:
A. Smiley224, how old are you? 18? 30? That answer, along with some idea of your “life experience” might give some insight into your direction. For example, I’ve known several men who planned for the priesthood but had done so having had essentially zero interaction with women – then found themselves deeply shaken when they met women & found themselves attracted to them.
Phrased differently, I think lots of folks look at “religious life” simply because they’ve never met a person of the opposite gender they’re attracted to.
B. I am never going to contradict anyone whose advice is “pray the rosary.” That said, I must respectfully disagree with this advice:
“2) Spend time in front of the Blessed Sacrament. And lots of it. Try and make a daily visit.
3) Pray the rosary every day.
4) Try to receive communion once a day and go to confession once a week.”
Mass every day, AND ‘lots’ of time in front of the Blessed Sacrament, AND weekly confession, AND daily rosary…and nothing else? And, it’s advice from a priest? A serious, serious problem I have with that advice is the following: It is not well-rounded, and “steers” Smiley toward religious life, since all of those things will be consistent with religious life. Heck, it’s coming from a priest.
Are all of those things the priest told Smichhertz great? Yes. Same with “investigating orders.” But if Smiley is really trying to discern, what she ALSO needs to do is balance those things with the “marriage” side of life. Smiley, have you ever, for example, attended a Catholic singles function? Try it and see who’s there. And while you’re at it, also do the following:
–Talk to some couples who are happily married…and maybe for a long time.
–Ask insightful questions of them. What is it about marriage that they like? Dislike? How is marriage what they expected? How is it different?
–Maybe more pointedly: look inside and ask: Do you want children? How do you want to spend your life? What are you doing now to minister to others? What life experience do you have? For that matter, Smiley, have you ever had a serious boyfriend? Have you recently had a bad breakup? Heck, maybe you broke someone’s heart? The point is, all of these things need to be pondered deeply and prayed about.
About the best advice I can give, after all of the other items, is this: Whatever you choose, choose because it is the right thing for you, and not because you are afraid of the other choice.