What is discernment?

Vocational discernment is a process we try to determine God’s call and direction in our lives. Although vocation discernment most frequently refers to a special vocation such as the priesthood or religious life, one may also speak of discernment when thinking of their vocation to marriage or to life as a single person. Whether one has been called to clerical, religious, married or single life, it is our duty and due responsibility to discern where God is calling us in our life.

Here are four time-tested ways used by the Church to help people discover what God is calling them to:

Discernment begins and continues with deep, sincere personal prayer. Moments of quiet time, meditating on the Word of God, the Sacraments and spiritual reading are ways through which God communicates with an individual.

Spiritual Companionship
It is often helpful to have a spiritual companion – a friar, priest or religious whom one can journey with in the discernment process.

In the process of discernment, it is important to be involved with the different ministries of the Church. It is here that one can encounter and reflect upon the experience of serving others in the light of the Gospel. God often speaks through people around us. One who sincerely searches to do the will of God will not be let down. God will show the way.

Reading Up!
Take time to read good spiritual books. Get to know the bible. Try out new books by contemporary authors. Immerse yourself in the lives of the saints. As St Francis appeals to you, try to find out more about him. Spiritual reading can help you immensely in your discernment.

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