signpostsunsetNo matter to what vocation God calls you, you must be attentive to His voice in your lives. Since your first call is to holiness, putting God at the center of your life is the first step you should always take. Here are some useful practices to help you.

 

Get to Know Jesus

In order for any relationship to grow, it takes both time and effort on the parties involved — one’s relationship with God is no different. As your relationship with God grows through prayer, you will learn to recognize God’s voice and call in your life.

The body, blood, soul and divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ are substantially present in Holy Eucharist. Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament is a powerful way to grow in love with the Eucharistic Lord and to grow in the spiritual life. If the Eucharist is not exposed, then prayer in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament in the tabernacle is also extremely beneficial.
St. Jerome asserted that “ignorance of the scriptures is ignorance of Christ.” Become very familiar with the Word of God, especially the Gospels. This includes not only learning the content of the Sacred Scriptures, but also learning to pray using the Word of God.

To discern God’s call, you are encouraged to participate in the daily celebration of Holy Mass so that you can grow in your relationship with the Lord through frequent reception of the Holy Eucharist.
The celebration of the Sacrament of Penance is a way to experience the love and mercy of Our Lord as you strive to grow in holiness. Regular use of the sacrament will reveal your greatest struggles with living a life of holiness and provide you with God’s grace to overcome those struggles.

 

Strengthen your relationship with Mary

If you are discerning, you have no greater advocate than the Blessed Mother. Pray the rosary daily, or pray some Hail Mary’s, and ask the Mother of God to intercede on your behalf so that you may come to know God’s will for you and have the courage to follow whatever path God may leading you.

 

Take action

Attend discernment retreats at seminaries or other discernment events. This retreat helps you focus on the discernment process and exposes you to many others who are discerning.

Learn more about God, your faith, your Church, and how to grow in holiness by reading good books. The Catholic spiritual tradition is extremely rich!

The pastor of your parish or another priest will also be a valuable resource during your discernment process. For those discerning the priesthood, developing a relationship with your pastor or another priest will also give you an up-close view of the life of a priest.

The Diocesan Vocation Office can be a valuable resource during your discernment process. Regular discussions with the Vocation Director may help you uncover God’s will for your life.

Those discerning should be making the attempt to grow in holiness. When you grow in your relationship with Christ, you will begin to think more like Jesus and act more like Jesus. This growth in holiness is shown by living a life of virtue.

Speaking with a priest or qualified individual trained in spiritual direction about one’s prayer life and seeking advice from this person on a regular basis can be very helpful. Be very selective in whom you approach for spiritual direction. Pray fervently to the Holy Spirit to guide you to the best director possible. Seek someone who is deeply prayerful, loves the Church, loves their own vocation and has a mature understanding of the struggles involved in moving closer to God.

Your relationship with God is not confined to the personal level, but is also expressed within the Church. Getting involved in your local parish is extremely important for discerning the priesthood. Volunteer to be a lector, an extraordinary Eucharistic minister, a server at Mass, a CCD instructor, or help with the parish youth group. Volunteer to reach out to the sick, the poor, the homeless, and the elderly.

Becoming a Catholic priest or religious is a counter cultural thing to do. Because of this reality, many times those who are discerning feel isolated and unsupported. Hang around people who will encourage you in your discernment and who will support you in wanting to follow God’s will for you, whatever that may be.


Suggested Reading

Our picks for inspiring, informational books about vocations and Catholic life in general, with direct links.

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Stages of discernment

Where are you on the journey of discerning your vocation?

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Principles of discernment

Sometimes we need some tools to help us find the right path.

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Praying for discernment

Prayer is one of the most important elements of good discernment.

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Discernment Quiz

Do you have the signs and characteristics of a good candidate for the seminary?

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Who is a candidate to enter seminary?

Every seminarian is different, and so are the paths that have led them there.

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