It is convenient that the young man stands before the Crucified Jesus and seriously reconsider what God has created him for. Let him ponder well the first sentence of the catechism: “God created me to love him, serve him and save my soul.”
Let him write on a piece of paper:
1) What advantages do I find in religious life to achieve this end of mine? Naturally, he should also have to consider his life’s circumstances, his character, etc.
2) What disadvantages do I find in religious life to achieve this end of mine?
Then take another paper where he will write down the advantages and disadvantages that he will find to achieve the ultimate goal by staying in the world.
By thinking and praying he will find quite a few things to put on paper. Then, together with his spiritual Father, he will balance the advantages and disadvantages and decide accordingly. It goes without saying that this balance must not be simply numerical but moral. Sometimes a single disadvantage can negate all advantages and vice versa. This method is very useful for those who are in the period of tranquility and calm or for those who do not feel attracted or inclined towards any state of life in particular
On the other hand, for those who already want the religious life but who, nevertheless, must make the choice for the reasons indicated above, this method will not be so suitable. For these it will be enough that they write sincerely what are the reasons that move them to desire the priesthood or religious life. From the list they make it will be possible to see whether or not they have a right intention and consequently if the vocation comes from God and is true or if it is the result of human reasons and interests and therefore not true.
For the benefit of each other, we give a list of supernatural and good reasons for which one can desire and choose the religious life. These motives can also be considered as advantages found in religious life.
- A) REASONS TOUCHING MY SPIRITUAL USEFULNESS
1) I am sure to save my soul: It is away from the dangers and temptations of the world. There is the Jesus’ promise: “You will receive one hundredfold in this life and then eternal life.”
2) One is almost free from mortal sin: Let us see how Saint Bernard describes the spiritual advantages of the religious: “He lives more purely, he rarely falls, he gets up quickly, he dies confidently, he is freed from purgatory more quickly and he is paid more abundantly”. We can safely say that a good religious can easily go through his entire life without committing a mortal sin.
3) Perfection is reached: The religious is in a state that continually tends to perfection, seeks it, and seeks it by all means. The Church approves the rules of religious Orders to say that whoever observes them will surely achieve perfection.
4) Sanctity is easily achieved: Perfection lived in heroism. That always obeying while denying one’s own will, that living always subject to a Rule, to a common life, always doing what others like, mortifying every desire of one’s own, turns the religious into a hidden hero. Then come the spiritual aids: a constant spiritual direction, a solid and robust ascetic formation, an abundant dose of prayer, spiritual readings, ascetic talks and conferences, frequent visits to the Blessed Sacrament; in a word, we live in the same house with Jesus, who is always at our disposal.
5) I want to live solely for the eternal goods, which are the only ones I esteem: For some it would be a terrible humiliation, an unforgivable contradiction to live for the things of the earth. They thirst for the goods of the spirit, they see that only these can satiate the heart, and the consequence is that they conceive a true contempt for the world and see that it is important to live only for the goods of heaven.
6) I am afraid of hell: It is not cowardice or vileness but a holy feeling that would not be had without a true grace of God and that it alone is capable of making saints.
7) I will make a holy death: Of the religious one can be said: “Beati mortui qui in Domino moriuntur”. He has lived for God, he dies in Him and for Him, his works made only by God and for souls will follow them
8) An organized spiritual life is lived: the religious lives a life regulated by a schedule that periodically brings him the announcement of a new work that he has to do for God
9) One is certain that he always does the Will of God: This is obtained through obedience. The religious superior, by virtue of his authority, represents God for me, and what he tells me to do is certainly God’s will unless it is not sinful. This privilege is only enjoyed by religious.
10) Happiness of religious life: “Religious are happy on this earth because they know that after death God awaits them, the prize.” Happiness is not only a response to hope for the future but to the joyous reality of the present. It comes from the certainty of friendship with God, from the company of holy religious, from mortification, from purity and from a complex of things that give the religious a spiritual youth.
11) I want to live a life of sacrifice and renunciation: There is no clearer and surer sign of love for God. It must be clearly stated that religious life is a paradise, a joy, a grace, but only for those who want to live it seriously, committed to the cross of their duty and the exact observance of its Rules. He who enters religion for this reason will hardly lose his vocation.
12) I want to live a life of purity: Many see that, in the world, leading a life of purity is almost impossible, and then they turn their gaze to the religious house where those lilies of the Lord are cultivated and where everything breathes purity and cleanliness of heart.
13) I will increase my merits: The accumulation of merits that are overturned on the soul of a religious in a single day of religious life is incalculable.
14) I will live in the company of good souls: Religious find a most effective help for their spiritual life finding themselves surrounded by souls full of God’s love, desires for perfection, goodwill, mutual help to always be better in the eyes of God .
15) Beauty of the priesthood: The priest, minister of God, who offers to the Most High the divine Sacrifice for the health of humanity; the priest who absolves, baptizes, distributes the Bread of Life, assists in the last agony; the priest who advises, consoles, helps, blesses in the name of God; the priest who through the centuries renews the visible presence of Christ in the world is an ideal capable of fascinating every heart desirous of living a useful and full life.
16) I unite myself with God with the three vows: Three golden chains that unite God, that redouble our merits, that make us the chosen, that happily make it impossible for us to go back and almost forces us to persevere. They make us the front-line volunteers who follow the Master wherever He goes.
17) I will have a serious and deep formation: It is not a reason to be despised. Having a splendid light, a sure guide, a serious and solid preparation to climb the holy mountain of spiritual life, is not anything.
18) I will have many suffrages when I die: When a religious dies, his brothers in religion think about the suffrages for his soul.