“Those who let themselves be seized by this love cannot help but abandon everything to follow him” (Pope John Paul II).
As a young woman Saint Jeanne Jugan felt herself seized by Divine Love. She realized that God had a plan for her, and yet for many years she had no idea where he was leading her. She confided to her mother, “God wants me for himself. He is keeping me for a work which is not yet founded.” Years went by before Jeanne saw the unfolding of God’s plan. If she were here today, Jeanne would offer this advice to anyone discerning their vocation:
- Pray often, asking God to reveal his will and to help you know yourself better.
- Find a church or chapel that has Eucharistic adoration and set aside time each week for silent adoration.
- Live a sacramental life: attend daily Mass whenever possible and take advantage of the sacrament of Reconciliation.
- Set aside time to read Scripture and other good spiritual books such as the lives of the saints, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, classics of the spiritual life, etc.
- Seek the guidance of a spiritual director who has a good understanding of the consecrated life, or of a religious sister.
- Attend retreats or days of prayer, especially in a religious community.
- Visit a religious community.
- Commit yourself to some form of volunteer service to God’s people, especially the poor.
- Choose to spend time with friends who are also serious about their faith, and who will support your desire to grow spiritually.
In his message for the 51st World Day of Prayer for Vocations, Pope Francis writes: Today too, Jesus lives and walks along the paths of ordinary life in order to draw near to everyone, beginning with the least, and to heal us of our infirmities and illnesses. I turn now to those who are well disposed to listen to the voice of Christ that rings out in the Church and to understand what their own vocation is. I invite you to listen to and follow Jesus, and to allow yourselves to be transformed interiorly by his words, which “are spirit and life” (Jn 6:62). Mary, the Mother of Jesus and ours, also says to us: “Do whatever he tells you” (Jn 2:5). It will help you to participate in a communal journey that is able to release the best energies in you and around you. A vocation is a fruit that ripens in a well cultivated field of mutual love that becomes mutual service, in the context of an authentic ecclesial life. No vocation is born of itself or lives for itself. A vocation flows from the heart of God and blossoms in the good soil of faithful people, in the experience of fraternal love. Did not Jesus say: “By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (Jn 13:35).