It may be that you are nervous about this word “commitment’. That is quite natural and normal, because it is your life that you are considering. But God does call us to make a ‘religious commitment’.
There are two types of religious commitment – firstly commitment to God, and secondly commitment to God as a member of a particular Religious Order or Congregation.
Every Christian should have a commitment to God, whatever way of life that person lives. You may be a Lay person, married or unmarried, you may be a priest, you may be a member of a Religious Order or Religious Congregation. Each and every person should make God the determining influence in life. That is the first form of ‘religious commitment’.
But then comes the question: What should I do with my life? The best way to discern an answer is to pray about it. There are some helpful prayers on the following website. Pray one of these prayers every day. http://mpdinc.org/_prayers.jsp
If you then discern that God wants you to become a full member of a particular Religious Order, you need eventually also to make a commitment to that Order. This is done in a ceremony called “making religious profession”. It is also called ‘making vows’ (a person getting married also makes vows). Religious Profession means you proclaim your commitment to an Order in the presence of a community of that Order, and your commitment is received by a relevant religious superior of that Order.
As far as Dominican Order is concerned, someone may have made a commitment to become a Dominican already in his heart and mind when he first applies to us, but the Dominican Order does not hold him to that commitment until he has completed a one-year novitiate with us. During that year, it is still a personal thing for him. He is allowed to change his mind at any time
Even when a new Dominican professes his commitment to the Order at the end of the novitiate-year, we still only hold him to a temporary commitment for the next few years. Only after at least four years with us will we accept a life-long commitment from him.
No Dominican is allowed to be ordained as a priest until he has made this permanent commitment to be a Dominican for life. (A person becoming a Diocesan priest has to make a similar commitment to his Diocese).