Thursday, October 13, 2011

Keep it simple

It does not have to be dramatic.

It is usually as simple as "coming home." Feelings like "I liked it there" or "I felt at home" can be really strong indicators.

I once went to visit a Dominican community. They were great. I liked their lifestyle, their habit, their chapel. It was wonderful. And I left knowing in my gut that I was not called there. As much as I liked it, I knew that it was not my home. I've heard the same from other women in their search.

Don't be afraid of that. If you visit a community and it just does not settle, that does not mean you are not called - just that you are not called there.

But how to figure out even where to look.

Go to your room and pray and think and then get out some paper. And a writing utensil. (This exercise may take some time, so don't worry if you find that it needs to be continued.)

Write down what you feel drawn to in religious life. What is important to you in your call as you understand it. If you are still really vague, that's okay. But start "creating" your ideal religious community. A priest once told me that he did this during his discernment process and ended up recreating the Jesuits. So he became a Jesuit.

If you don't know, surf. Look at websites, ask yourself what draws you about the different orders. You're not looking for one yet, you're looking for things that seem to be part of God's call for you.

What repels you? Even more importantly, why don't you like it?

Take your time. This can go on for a bit.

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