How Do I Respond to God's Call?
R – Realize that God has a plan for you from all eternity.
God gave you certain talents and He wants you to do something for Him that nobody else can do. Realize also that it will make all the difference in the world how you respond to this plan. Scripture scholars tell us that Mary was about sixteen years old when God asked her if she would fulfill his plan. Think what would have happened if she had said NO to God. We have in our lives our own little Annunciations. If we say no to God, the work will remain undone.
E – Experience some solitude
Solitude is different than loneliness. Loneliness is feeling empty and lost; solitude is working through those feelings to find Someone and communicate with Him in the depth of your soul. We are very busy people. It is good to spend some time in solitude to read about Jesus in order to know him better. We will never become friends with someone we do not know. Read books on the lives of the saints. Arrange for a retreat or time of prayer in the evening when nobody will disturb you.
Father Robert Fox talks about a young lady who debated strongly whether she could give up seeing her boyfriend for two weeks while on a “Youth for Fatima” pilgrimage. One week and a half into the pilgrimage she whispered to him, “I want to be a nun. How will I tell my parents this when they know I hesitated to leave my boyfriend for a short time?” Solitude helped her to awaken her vocation. It has been said that every fifth girl receives a vocation to the religious life, but many are never awakened.
S – Surrender your life in total trust.
You need to learn to trust Jesus. Do not be afraid of such thoughts as “How will I ever respond in the way God wants me to” or “How will I do what He asks of me?” The prophets tried that before, as did the saints. Moses told the Lord to send someone else because he did not speak well. Jeremiah thought he was too young. Isaiah called himself a man of unclean lips. When God asked Jonah to go to Nineveh, he got on a ship heading the opposite direction!
If God asks, He will give you the grace to do something. To all excuses, His answer is that He will be with you.
P – Pray daily to discover God’s plan and receive the courage to do it
To discover God’s plan is a secret to happiness and peace. Ask the Holy Spirit every day to tell you what He wants you to do. Ask Him for the help to do it, and then learn to listen to Him in your heart.
O – Overcome obstacles on your way to God. If you want to follow God’s call you will encounter various obstacles.
The devil does not like to see anybody pursue a vocation. He will surround you with countless doubts and objections. It is important to be forewarned about them.
Family and friends may not understand what you are doing. This is a very common occurrence. As much as you would like their support and approval, it is not absolutely necessary. There are times when fulfilling God’s plan for your life may be contrary to what your family desires for you. In some instances, family and friends have actually been a deterrent to an authentic vocation. They will one day have to answer to Almighty God for obstructing His holy will.
Your fallen nature shrinks from every sacrifice. Though you may be sorry to give up some things you are doing, do not dwell on them. Rather, concentrate on the things you can do for the good of humanity. Some time ago, a 75 year old lady said, “I always wanted to be a sister, but I could not give up swimming.” Respond with joy. Joy makes it easy! And God loves a cheerful giver.
N – Nourish your vocation by talks with someone you trust.
A vocation is like a little seed that God plants in the soil of your soul. Jesus said that soil will either choke the seed, dry it out or bring it to a rich harvest. Be of good soil. You know that a flower needs sun, water and nutrients to grow. Talk to someone who has walked the same road before you about your desires and fears. If you don’t, your flower of vocation may never grow. D
D – Devote yourself to Our Lady.
Mary is our Mother and our model in responding to God’s call. As a Mother she wants what is best for us. She knows what God’s plan is for us. Nobody every responded to God’s call as perfectly as she did. She was a young girl when God asked her to be the Mother of Jesus. She did not understand what all this meant, but God asked and that was enough to say YES! Her yes changed the history of the world forever.