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I am beginning formation in three months; any suggestions on how to prepare in the meantime?

Richard asks:

Dear Fr Anthony,

After a long period of discernment (most of it spent running away from a call) I have said yes to the Lord to become a "servant to all" as a priest in a religious order. I have three months before my formation begins. Do you have any suggestions on how I should prepare in the next three months? Thank you and God Bless.

Dear Richard,

I am very happy for you that you have turned around, and instead of running away from your vocation are now running to embrace it.

It's hard to give universal advice as to how to spend these last months, because so much will depend upon your own particular circumstances (how your parents and family members are taking the news, obligations such as work and so forth, whether your spiritual state is still one of struggle or peace, your friends and acquaintances, the type of order you will join, etc...). So let me venture some general reflections, and I'll leave it to you to figure if and how they apply in your own circumstances.

First of all I think it is important to continue to deepen into the reasons you are taking this step, getting beyond the feelings and reaching the solid rock of love based on faith. Keep praying, because prayer is where we discover the love on which we build everything, the reason you are taking this step.

Depending on the order you are joining and its rule of life, you may want to spend as much time as you can with your family.

Do not expect these weeks to be peaceful. Sometimes doubts and second thoughts come to plague us. If that happens, stay firm.

Very often God uses one vocation to spark another (just think of the call of Andrew and John), so run through in your mind the list of your relatives and friends to see if there is someone who might benefit from you challenging them.

Then there are always the practical things to take care of. Make sure you are not putting them off until the last moment.

And lastly the piece of advice we all need because we are human, and are easily tempted to "make the most of my last days of freedom": don't do anything stupid!

God bless,

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