The First Sign is: A Desire for the Life
vocations9The first sign I look for in myself or in anyone looking for signs of a vocation is, "Do I have a desire for the Life?" Am I inclined, am I drawn toward it? Does it give me a certain amount of satisfaction to think about it, ... a certain amount of enthusiasm or joy or some kind of positive feeling? I want to stress that, because God does not draw us to a vocation against our will; it is something that is extremely important. I have talked to people who said "I want to be a priest, or brother, or sister, not because I want to, but because I think I should; because I think God wants me to. If I don't go, I'll be punished in some way or I will be miserable or perhaps unhappy -something like that." God does not operate that way. He draws us according to our natural inclinations and if we are inclined to a religious life, that is a good sign. If we are repulsed by it and are thinking about it only because we have to, I call that a "monkey-on-your-back vocation" and you carry it around like some kind of heavy load that somehow God is zapping you, and you "got to go or else." God doesn't zap people that way. The one thing God wants of us is to be free in our decision - He wants us to freely choose our vocation. That desire is some kind of spontaneous attraction ... and it is one indication that a person is called. But that is not enough, because a lot of people have an attraction to religious life - the other two signs are also important.