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Q & A with Father Anthony

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How does one discern if God is calling you to a contemplative order or an active order?

Laura asks:

Dear Fr Anthony,

As someone who is seriously contemplating the religious life, how does one discern if God is calling you to a contemplative order or an active order?


Dear Laura,

There is a difference between admiring a religious order and really feeling at home there, despite the fact that we know it is going to cost us a lot and will imply many a sacrifice. This sense of belonging, of being where I was meant to be, feeling at home, is the principal subjective factor that enables us to pinpoint our call.

The nun called to the active life might envy the contemplatives; appreciate the irreplaceable and necessary role they play in the Church, and look forward to her own times of silence, prayer and retreats. The contemplative nun for her part might envy the direct work of the active religious; know how necessary it is, and have a deep sense of admiration for those whose work makes sure her prayers bear fruit in souls. This doesn't mean they are each in the wrong vocation. It just means they have a sense of the Mystical Body and have found their own place in it.

Each one has a sense of where her true home is, and this has been confirmed by those who admitted them to their respective community, and then to first profession, and finally to perpetual profession. So you see, there is a subjective perception, but that is never enough on its own. It needs to be confirmed as a true indication of Gods will, which happens when you are admitted to perpetual profession.

God bless.

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