What is a religious vocation?
A religious vocation is a special grace that God gives to certain persons, calling them to a life of the evangelical counsels.
There is more than passing value in stressing the fact that a religious vocation is a grace. It
is, therefore, a gift and an opportunity that must be freely responded to if the grace is not to remain sterile and ineffective. We used to speak, and perhaps still do, of promoting religious vocations.
Actually, we cannot promote vocations. Either God gives them or they don’t exist. We can only discover what God has given and then foster a vocation that is presumably there.
But how do you discover a true vocation? The expression “true vocation” is not casual. It is
critically important in an age when so many once-promising vocations seem to have been lost.
What are some typical features of a true vocation to the religious life? I would emphasize
(1) a strong faith in the Catholic Church and her teaching, shown by a firm loyalty to the
Vicar of Christ;
(2) a love of prayer, at least the capacity for developing a desire for prayer; and
(3) a readiness to give oneself to a life of sacrifice in the footsteps of Jesus Christ.
The practical question arises of how to recognize a true vocation to the religious life. The
need for recognizing a vocation is so important that everything else is secondary. I believe that if every prospective candidate were to make a private retreat, even for a few days, under a competent priest, it would help immensely. The retreat could be especially geared to a person who thinks that he or she has a vocation to the religious life.
Vindplaats onder dankzegging: ewtn