Discernment is a way to sort through the many voices and distractions in our lives to identify God’s will so you can make a deliberate and prayerful decision.
When you deliberately discern it will require being aware of the thoughts, imaginations, desires, and feelings that frequent you. Sifting through the voices and distractions of life enables one to find and recognize that only God gives life, peace, and breath. The discerner sees how they have now been called to decide in faith what God’s will most clearly seems to be.
When these simple steps are combined one will progress in their discernment:
- Pray – God knows you! God knows the number of hairs on your head. God knows you as a loving and caring person. Ask God to let you know your vocation, your call in life.
- Listen – Listen to God in the quiet of your heart. To do this you need to take time to step out of the noisy world and be alone in silence. God does not shout but speaks quietly in your deepest thoughts. In silence, be aware pf promptings of the Holy Spirit within you.
- Holy Conversation – In addition to prayer for wisdom and openness, conversation about the religious or ordained life may be an aid to your understanding. In addition, consider a spiritual director that you are able to trust and be completely open with. Conversations with those in other vocations may prove helpful also.
- Lectio Divina – A tradition in most religious communities. It is reading Sacred Scripture in a prayerful way that lets the light of Christ enlighten you. Read especially the Gospels and the Psalms, and listen to the words as a personal message to you from God. Silence yourself, become calm before beginning to read and let the words sink into your heart.
- Continue to grow in Faith – Learn more about your faith through reading, courses, and lectures. Celebrate the Eucharist more than once a week.
- Participate – Get involved in your parish. There are many ways that one may become involved in a parish. Ask about parish retreats, retreats sponsored by religious communities, “Come and See weekends,” become a Lector, Eucharistic Minister, Youth Ministry, take part in Parish Service Projects, etc.
- Read the Lives of the Saints – The saints are excellent examples of men and women who gave their lives to Christ and the Church. Through their example of life in living out the Evangelical Counsels they have shown us the way to love God and neighbor. http://www.americancatholic.org/Features/Saints/byname.aspx