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Discernment

Is God Calling Me?

Yes. You can be sure that God is calling you. God has a vocation for everyone.

The only question is: Which way is God calling you?

And the only way to answer the question is to take it up with God — in prayer, in study, and in active seeking. Explore the states of life. Read about them. Talk to the people who are living them faithfully.

The process of answering this question — of discovering God’s will for you — is called DISCERNMENT.

How do I Decide?

Pope Francis put it bluntly: “Ask Jesus what he wants from you, and be brave!”

That’s discernment. It requires an active seeking — with a readiness to accept the truth when we find it. God may ask us to follow a path far different from the one we’ve planned — and far different from the path that others have planned for us.

Discernment begins when we go outside ourselves.

FIRST, go in prayer to God. Ask for guidance. Listen for what the Spirit prompts inside you.

NEXT, go in openness to the Church. Tell a trusted priest, sister, or parish leader that you are interested in discovering your vocation. You’re likely to get the guidance you seek.

FINALLY, follow the advice you get. Read the books or articles. Visit the offices, convents, or monasteries where you’re directed. Show God that you mean what you say when you ask for guidance. Thank God for answering your prayer.

Questions to Consider

Discernment is serious work, but rewarding. If we take up the task, we will be better persons for it, no matter which way God calls us.

Don’t be afraid to ask hard questions of yourself and God. Give yourself quiet time to get answers.

• What is God’s will for me?
• How can I see myself serving the Church?
• Is there something more out there for me?
• What is my deepest desire?
• What are my gifts and talents?
• What gives me energy?  What saps my energy?
• What am I passionate about?
• What are my hopes and my fears?
• Where are some areas in which I might need to grow?

Discernment is not easy or quick. It takes time. It takes prayer. It takes people to help you.

A Discernment To-Do List

  • Pray — strengthen your relationship with Christ.
  • Take part in the Sacraments, Eucharist and Reconciliation, as often as possible.
  • Pray for guidance and clarity. It’s in here twice for a reason!
  • Find a spiritual director. Ask your favorite priest for recommendations or reach out to us to help.
  •  Serve the Church. Find out what the parish needs: Lectors? Catechists? What else?
  • Get to know yourself.
  • Take online tests. They can be fun and helpful. Think about the results.
  • Take note of consolations — the sense of God’s closeness. When do these occur?
  • Take note of desolations — the sense that God is far away. When do these occur?
  • Visit communities if interested in Consecrated Life. Do you feel like home in any of them? Plenty of people visit communities and discern that is not where God is calling them. Don’t be scared to visit!
  • Attend vocation activities, reflection days, retreats. Check out upcoming events here.
  • Write out pros and cons.

Spiritual Direction

Traveling is easier when we do not travel alone — when we have a companion and an experienced guide.

A spiritual director can help us move forward as we discern our vocation in life. It is good to hold ourselves accountable to someone who is committed to keeping us on track and moving forward.

A spiritual director is trained and experienced in guiding souls, and can help us to stay focused and on task.

There are many good directors available to help you. Contact us for help finding a spiritual director!

What if Consecrated Life Isn’t for Me?

Maybe you’ve discerned your vocation, whether just through prayer, spiritual direction or time spent with a community, and consecrated life isn’t how God is calling you to serve Him. Rejoice! There is beauty in this clarity. The simple fact remains: YOU are CALLED to serve. YOU are called to Be a Saint, maybe just not how you expected. You are a gift to others, and especially to the Church. If you’re not called to consecrated life, but still feel called to support the Church directly, consider these opportunities:

  1. Serve in the liturgy: Join a choir, be a lector, or Eucharistic Minister.
  2. Serve your parish: Support at events, through the administration, fundraising and so much more.
  3. Share your knowledge of the faith: Put your years of searching and formation to use through teaching religious education classes and RCIA. Journey with someone entering the Church by being a confirmation sponsor.

Just remember – you have a place in the Church. God has a great plan for you, He wants you to be happy and when you are living according to His plan, you will radiate his joy.

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