Religious Vocations

Diocese of Cleveland

Next Steps

Below are ways to continue the journey as you prayerfully discern your vocation.

Get a Spiritual Director – A Spiritual Director is someone trained to help people discern the hand of God in their lives and then act upon the discovery of a particular vocation. This person will not make decisions for you but will help you to make good ones for yourself. A spiritual director may be a priest, a religious, or a lay person. You might arrange monthly visits. Some people offer spiritual direction as a ministry and do not expect payment; for some it is a profession for which they charge a fee. A good spiritual director will be a great support to you.

Talk to a Vocation Director – A vocation director is sometimes called a vocation minister. Your diocesan vocation office and most religious communities have people appointed as vocation directors. Vocation directors can provide you with information about religious life, priesthood, brothers and other forms of Church ministry. They can tell you about events and programs that will help you discern. Best of all, they have the training and skills to guide you in making a choice.

Read Literature about Church Vocations – A vocation director of a community can give you, lend you, or at least suggest good books. Vision magazine has helpful articles about religious vocations as well as ads from numerous communities. Search the Internet for websites related to religious vocations.

Visit Religious Communities – Most communities welcome people who are interested in religious life. You will probably be able to stay for a weekend or even longer. It could be that as soon as you walk into a religious house, you’ll have a sense of being at home. Do not be discouraged if this does not happen. Talking with the people there will help you know if your spirituality and charism resonates with theirs. Don’t just visit one place but several.

Make Retreats about Vocations or Join a Discernment Group – The calendar on the home page has a schedule of the Diocesan and religious community retreats and discernment group meetings. Look at a variety that will allow you to see and experience various ways to answer God’s call. You might think you are the only one who is struggling with a religious vocation. On vocation retreats, you discover you are not alone. Conversing with people who are also in the midst of discernment is encouraging, enlightening, and enjoyable.

Making a Decision – When you have made a decision, you’ll know it is the right one if the thought of it brings you peace and joy. A wrong decision will give rise to feelings of discomfort, worry, and unease. You will not be 100% sure you have made the right decision. No one is. A word of caution: Make sure that the peace and satisfaction you experience after a major decision is lasting, take the time to find the Peace of Christ in your life.

Exercises for reflection and decision making:

Pros and Cons
Sort out your discerned thoughts by listing the pros and cons of each choice. Then evaluate them.

Get to Know Yourself
Know your strengths, weaknesses, likes, dislikes, desires, and needs. Be honest and admit your gifts.

Recall your Experiences of God
What do they say to you? What are you passionate about? What and where would you like to give all your energy? What gives your life real meaning? What gives Spiritual meaning to your life?

Use Your Imagination
Take time to imagine yourself in different lifestyles. Live each vocation in your mind. Is it a good fit? Does it give new meaning and purpose in your life? Which lifestyle (vocation) are you more comfortable in role playing?

Now envision how each choice would affect your life five years from now, ten years, twenty-five years from now.

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