Letter to Anita: « How Do I Know that God is Calling Me? »

A reflection by Sr Dewi, fcJ first appeared in the Weaving One Heart: Contemporary FCJ Voices blog.

Dear Anita,

Among your many questions about God and about your life, I remember one particular question, How do I know that God is calling me to religious life or to any other way of life?

To be honest, I do not know the direct answer to that intriguing question. There is no one sign of the calling, but there are many signs. And they are put by God, I believe, one after another to help guide our way. Yet, just as I used to get lost on my way to a place because I was not always reading the road signs and my sense of direction is very weak, I might not be reading God’s road signs in my life correctly.

The first sign we all have is that we are alive. Why has God created us; given us this precious gift of life? We did not have to exist. For Ignatius of Loyola, one of the great saints, the reason that we are alive is to praise, reverence and serve God our Lord. Of course, this is a sign for all ways of life; that there is a reason, there is a purpose for human living.

Your most heartfelt desires and dreams are God’s plan for your life, your purpose.

Paul Coutinho, SJ

The second and important sign of the call is the desire in me.  On the surface I might desire richness and fame, just like Ignatius, but what is deep within? What is the burning desire? For Ignatius, it was the desire to do great work and by doing it gained fame. This desire was then transformed by God into a desire to do great work for God, through and for others. What is your deep desire, dear Anita? What does it speak of? What is the essence of your desire?

There are other small and big signs along the way of our lives. They may be our interest in doing good for others, our questioning about God and God’s call, or the invitations we get from the Church and the Church community to gather and serve.

Dear Anita, only you can recognize your signs, and then look for guidance from experienced persons to read those signs meticulously. Maybe now is the time to look around for the signs. Not just the signs you want to see, but all signs that might lead you to understand the essence of your desire.

Take care, dear Anita. Keep looking and keep questioning. I think that is healthy.

May God give you light and show you your way.

In companionship,
Dewi fcJ