Discerning Your Vocation
The discernment of a vocation is, above all, an intimate dialogue between
the Lord and His disciples.
[Pope Benedict XVI]
WHAT IS DISCERNMENT?
Discernment is an active process. It is a movement of the heart by which an individual opens themself to receiving God’s call for their life. It is a process deeply rooted in prayer. Discernment is active because it requires effort and sacrifice. Discernment of one’s vocation is of vital importance, for it is in doing God’s will that we will find lasting purpose and joy in this life. We all have a vocation, whether it be to married or single life, religious life, or the priesthood, for God has called us all according to His purpose.
Discernment can certainly seem like a daunting task. How am I to discover God’s will? How do I know it is His will and not mine? How could God be calling me to that? These are very common questions for anyone who is seeking to know their vocation. The great thing is though, one does not have to swim in the pool of uncertainty forever. Christ and the Church have both given us countless tools by which we can deepen and expand our discernment and truly engage in this loving dialogue with the Lord.
TOOLS FOR DISCERNMENT
“When the Lord gives a mission, He always has us enter into a process, a process of purification, a process of discernment, a process of obedience, a process of prayer.”
- Pope Francis
Finding’s one vocation is a step-wise process. The question is: where does one begin? Fundamentally, all discernment must begin in prayer. Prayer is the fundamental lifeblood of Christian Discipleship; all followers of Christ must regularly engage in it. Prayer is especially essential for those who desire to know God’s call for their lives. How can one hope to serve a God one does not love, and how can one love a God one does not know? We grow in knowledge of God and His will through frequent prayer.
Prayer can be spontaneous, guided, sung, read, silent… There is such a variety. In order to assist us in our prayer, the Church offers particular ways by which we can encounter the Lord in an intimate way. Through such encounters we can truly begin the discernment of God’s will.
[Advice from Brother Gregory, a Benedictine Monk]