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Discernment

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Discernment

Who has a Vocation?

All the baptized have a vocation – a Call from God. Your vocation has two aspects: First, you have a call to holiness; to become a saint; to engage the Holy Spirit in a lifelong journey of conversion to Jesus Christ. Second, your call is to a particular ‘way of life’ in the Church: as a married person, as an unmarried (single) person, as a priest, or a deacon or a member of a religious congregation.

Why so many Vocations?

The Church needs good and holy priests, it needs good and holy religious, it needs good and holy married couples and all the other vocations mentioned above. Why? The different vocations complement each other and build upon each other. They make for a vibrant Church built of ‘living stones’ to carry the message of God’s love in Jesus to others.

How do I know my Vocation?

The process of coming to know your vocation is called discernment. It is a committed prayerful interaction with Jesus himself who invites you to, “Come, follow me.” It begins by getting to know Jesus personally; in the Bible, in prayer and in the sacraments of the Church. Jesus cannot lead us to our vocation unless we begin by ‘taking up our cross and following him.’

Consider Jesus’ action after he was baptized by John in the Jordan River. The Spirit led Jesus to the desert where he fasted and prayed for 40 days. This was the place where Jesus discerned his Father’s will. In a sense, we must spend our time in the desert too before God can reveal our particular vocation. This ‘desert’ is where we turn to God in prayer, where we ‘fast’ from distractions and temptations that draw us away from God, where we encounter God in quiet moments of peace.

God will use people in your life to help you discern your vocation. You may hear a comment like, “You would make a good priest” or “Have you ever thought about being a sister?” Pay attention to what others observe about you. It could be the Holy Spirit speaking through them.

Over and over Jesus said to his followers, “Do not be afraid.” He tells you that now. Don’t be afraid to turn to him. He wants only the best for you.

Why is my Vocation Important?

God created you to be joy-filled and to share your gifts and talents in order to be the light of Christ for others. This is the true meaning of life, its destiny and your opportunity to join Christ for eternity in heaven. God needs you! He has a plan to use your gifts and talents for His glory. So engage discernment of your vocation! It is a journey that leads you to your truest self – the self that God sees when He sees you.

See these resources for the Vocation of:

Priesthood

FAQ About the Priesthood

Religious Life