How did you know for sure? Can you share your personal experience of how God called you?
I entered a Benedictine monastery when I was 19, back in 1987. I stayed for just over two years, and by then was pretty sure religious life was not my calling.
I visited the monastery. I loved the life. I loved the Sisters. I had no impediments to entering religious life. I had completed two years of college and had some “life experience” (jobs, etc.). The prioress felt that I was strong enough and mature to live the monastic rule.
So I went through the admission process and was accepted. I informed my family and friends, wrapped up my affairs, said my “good-byes” and entered the monastery. I brought my all to what I believed was my vocation. I held nothing back. God met me there, and I THANK GOD that He allowed me those years in the monastery! So many graces, so much love, so much growth!
But it wasn’t my vocation. Re-entering the world was a bit shocking to the system, but I managed it slowly and joyfully. Absolutely no regrets in entering, and living the life as fully as possible with the intention of remaining there forever.
Now before I entered, a priest who was acting as something of a spiritual director told me I wasn’t mature enough to enter. And I never really discussed it much with my parents. God used all that for His good purposes, but I don’t advise it for others
I just read a great article yesterday that might also help:
God bless you in your discernment!
Not sure if it counts, especially since I’m technically still discerning. But I don’t feel particularly called to the priesthood, instead to married life. I’ve always wanted kids of my own, since I’m really good with kids, and have always felt more like Moses than Aaron. I’ll let someone else do the priestly stuff. That said, though, I haven’t ruled out the diaconate. (Does the married diaconate count as a vocation?)
Yes, it does, Razanir. The deaconate is definitely a vocation.
I remember very clearly feeling a possible call to religious life, back when I was a freshman in high school. I was attending an all-girls Catholic school.
It’s a bit hard to describe, but back at the time when I thought that I was being called to the life of a religious vocation, I felt a message in my heart “to think about becoming a nun,” but I told the Lord that, “I felt more strongly that I wanted to be married instead.”
I did think about the situation, but I had more of a certainty of what I wanted to do. It wasn’t like I needed to think about the situation for a long time, or anything like that.
However, I felt even more sure that I wanted to get married when I was older, and that is what I ended up doing.
When I was older, I spent several years volunteering in two different Catholic parishes that I had attended, and found that this was a way for me to satisfy my desire of wanting to serve the Lord.
No, I know the diaconate is a vocation. I was wondering if it’s a “valid” choice to plan on getting married first. Hence why I called it the “married” diaconate in my question.
How did you meet God there in the monastery? And why / how did you then know religious life is not your vocation at the end?
I met God in the monastery in pretty much the same way we meet God anywhere – prayer, the sacraments, service (chores in the monastery, like laundry, gardening), spiritual reading, and a mind and heart seeking Him.
How I knew that religious life was not my calling…:hmmm: This is harder to answer, and in some ways it took longer to discern leaving than it did to discern entering. Generally, those in the novitiate are under the guidance of older members of the community (e.g., novice mistress, prioress). The postulant, novice, junior professed discuss their experiences, thoughts, questions, feelings, etc., with these older members and are given guidance about staying or leaving.
Honestly, the main thing is to get moving. God can’t lead us if we just stand in one spot staring at all the possibilities in indecision. Choose a direction (with advice/guidance from your parents/pastor) and start moving. God will intervene from there
Simply put, look for these things in considering a religious vocation:
Visited the communities that interest you.
If you find the life a good fit…
If you love the other members…
If you have no impediments to entering religious life…
If you meet the age requirements…
If the superior feels that you are strong and mature enough to live their way of life…
If your pastor and parents feel you are strong and mature enough to live the life…
If you and the others feel you and the specific rule of life are a “good fit”…
If you feel that God may be calling you to this life AND you don’t feel that God is calling you some other way…
Then make arrangements to enter and move forward. If God has other plans, He’ll let you know. You can trust in His plans. It really doesn’t have to be complicated.
God bless you!
Are you currently married? Married deacons are like eastern rite married priests, they have to be married before they’re ordained, otherwise it’s lifelong celibacy, which is a wondering blessing.
I wouldn’t wait if I thought I had a diaconate vocation. God can retract his graces and you can lose the desire to become a deacon.
Graces retracted? I never heard of this. Why would God take that away?
I’m hoping to enter Religious Life next year.
It started with thoughts that I might be a nun. Then it just felt right. Then I desired it so strongly it made me so happy.
God lets us know which vocation is right because the thought of it should bring peace and joy.