“How do you discern what your vocation is? Are there any signs or encounters with the Lord that would help you discern that?” asked Lisa from Dallas, Texas, when she called in to The Drew Mariani ShowTM. She described herself as in her late 40s, and worried about not yet knowing what her vocation might be. “There’s a sense that I share with many people in my situation, that we’re wandering, like we don’t have a vocation.”
Sister Brittany Harrison “Sister B” is a Salesian Sister of St. Don Bosco, Campus Minister at Mary Help of Christians Academy in New Jersey, and regular contributor to Morning Air® on Relevant Radio®. She offered some advice to Lisa in response to her questions.
How do we listen to God and know what our vocational call might be? “You can’t really listen without the relationship being built through frequent prayer, through good friendships with other people who share your values, and also taking time to identify your gifts—what brings you joy and experiment and try different things out. God speaks to us sometimes through a personal revelation but most of the time He speaks to us through daily life, through people and signs,” explained Sister B.
How will we know that we are called to a vocation? “The typical signs that the average person is going to get that God is calling them to at least test out or try a particular religious order or some kind of life change would be an attraction to it, or when you participate in something related to it you feel joyful, you feel fulfilled,” said Sister B. “When I visited the Salesian sisters, I felt like a piece of my heart that I didn’t even know was missing, clicked into place; like I felt completed. And I’ve heard something similar from people who get engaged with each other and get married—they just felt like the other person was that thing that they were missing in life.”
Even if you aren’t called to a religious vocation or married life, God still has a plan for you. “God calls some people to be intentionally single, to dedicate their lives to Him so they can be more free to serve others. And that in itself can be a vocation, but regardless of what you’re called to, you need some sense of community. So even if God is calling you to be intentionally single, you have to build up some kind of community for yourself, either by joining some kind of 3rd order or secular institute or just having a really strong support network. Because as a religious, I can tell you I can’t be faithful to my vocation without my friends and their prayers. And I know that’s the same thing for priests and single people too, and even married people. We need community, we need each other because God created us in relationship with the Trinity to be in relationship with each other.”