There come times in life when we recognise this world does not hold for us all that we seek.
When we turn to God, and discover a chance to live out that call, it can manifest itself in many ways. A call to live within a religious order is an opportunity to devote every aspect of life to God: work, recreation, time, life itself. To choose a religious order means to make a public confession of faith: a response to Christ’s call to follow him.
A special call. A unique call. It is the call to abandon personal pursuit, pleasure and gain, and instead desire a life in which to live out, and experience, God’s eternal presence.
For many who choose to live in a community, it is a dedication to God in ways which are utterly surprising to modern life. It could mean removing oneself to a place spent in quiet contemplation and service to the world through prayer. Or it could mean joining a community who live and work alongside one another who share the call.
The community lifestyle removes its focus from personal gain to inward spiritual journeying. For some this combines helping those in need with living in a place of study, quiet and work. The example of Mother Teresa is one many see as a truly devoted and dedicated life. So much of the world’s charitable work has come from religious orders; lives that declare their simplicity in relating to the challenges of so many in the world.
A life dedicated to serving God, and in ways unlike anything else in society, is demanding.
But to those who have chosen that path, it has made all the difference.
Community of the Holy Name, Manchester www.chnderby.org
Community of St Francis www.franciscans.org.uk/
Community All Hallows www.all-hallows.org/content/home
St John the Divine www.csjd.org.uk/
Order of the Holy Paraclete www.ohpwhitby.org/
Community of Resurrection www.mirfieldcommunity.org.uk/joomla/
Manchester Carmelite Spirituality Group www.carmelite.org/manchester