What is Discernment?

How is God calling you? Each of us has gifts that God has given us. What are these gifts? How is God asking us to use these gifts in service to Him and His Church? The adventure of discernment is an adventure of inviting God into your personal decisions, especially discovering and pursuing your vocation.

“The Lord has his plan for each of us, he calls each one of us by name. Our task is to be listeners, capable of perceiving his call, to be courageous and faithful, so that we may follow him, and in the end, be found as trustworthy servants who have used well the gifts entrusted to us.”
Pope Benedict XVI

"Discernment is not about discovering what more we can get out of this life, but about recognising how we can better accomplish the mission entrusted to us at our baptism."
Pope Francis

"Our only desire and our one choice should be this: I want and I choose what better leads to God's deepening life in me."
St. Ignatius Loyola

“Vocation does not come from a voice out there calling me to be something I am not. It comes from a voice in here calling me to be the person I was born to be, to fulfill the original self hood given me at birth by God.”
Thomas Merton

“Let nothing disturb you, let nothing frighten you. All things are passing away: God never changes. Patience obtains all things. Whoever has God lacks nothing; God alone suffices.”
St. Teresa of Avila

“Vocations aren’t the result of planning, but an encounter with God that changes your life.”
Pope Francis

"Put your hand in Mary’s hand and ask her to lead you to Jesus. When Jesus came into her life, she went in haste to give Him to others. And you too when you become His priest, with her go in haste to give Jesus to others."
St. Mother Teresa of Calcutta

How do I know how God is calling me?

"We [need to be] aware of our temptations and fears, the consolations and lights given to us by God, and the various movements that happen within us."
St. Ignatius Loyola

“You will know your vocation by the joy that it brings you.”
Dorothy Day

“God speaks with us in many different ways. He speaks by means of others, through friends, parents, pastors, priests. Here, the priests to whom you are entrusted, who are guiding you…He speaks by means of the events of our life, in which we can discern God’s gesture; he speaks also through nature, creation, and he speaks, naturally and above all, in his Word, in Sacred Scripture, read in the communion of the Church and read personally in conversation with God.”
Pope Benedict XVI

Don’t Discern Alone

“There is nothing on this earth more to be prized than true friendship.”
St. Thomas Aquinas

First and foremost, you want to foster your RELATIONSHIP WITH CHRIST. Go to Mass, receive Communion, and spend time in Adoration.

Second, foster a RELATIONSHIP WITH THE BLESSED MOTHER. Consecrate yourself to the Immaculate Heart, wear her scapular, and pray her rosary.

Third, foster a RELATIONSHIP WITH THE SAINTS. Pray to your patron saint, read the Martyrology, and read from the Doctors such as St. Alphonsus, St. Teresa of Avila, St. Jerome, or St. Augustine.

Fourth, find a good SPIRITUAL DIRECTOR. They help you to hear and understand the ways the Lord is speaking to you. Finding a Spiritual Director whom you feel comfortable with is a process that can take some time, but the Vocations Office has resources to help you begin. Contact us if you would like help.

Finally, foster GOOD HEALTHY FRIENDSHIPS WITH MEN AND WOMEN. Friendships are a great gift from God.

Overcoming Fear

  • Fear is often an obstacle to clarity in discernment and pursuing what God wants for our life.
  • You might find yourself:
    • Feeling unworthy
    • Feeling uncertain
    • Fearing the commitment
  • In light of your fears:
    • Reflect on your gifts and how you desire to use them to build up God’s kingdom.
    • Turn your fears into concerns.
    • Reflect on God’s love.
    • Offer your fears to Mary, our Mother.
  • Remember: The Devil one does not want good and holy priests so he will do all he can to deter us from pursuing our vocation. Do not lose heart! Pursue clarity and consolation through scripture, good and holy people around you, and in the depth of your heart. Do not ignore the consistent promptings of your heart.

“God is infinite in power and he loves me infinitely. There is no snatching out of his hand. God will never send me where his grace cannot sustain me. If he asks me to do something difficult, like become a priest, he will give me the grace to do it. I will not fail because he is with me. And I will be happy because I am doing his will. Even if I lack some of the needed qualities, God will help me develop them. In his will lies my peace”
(To Save a Thousand Souls, Fr. Brett Brannen)