Discernment. Sometimes the word can seem daunting, but discernment is based on abilities you already have; there’s nothing mysterious about it.
Discovering how God is calling you requires paying attention to the intangibles. God is in them. What attracts you? What gives you life, joy, energy and a sense of “fit”? As you open yourself in reflective prayer and learn to pay attention to what moves you, you’re likely to have the satisfaction of making better decisions, the joy of greater personal freedom, and you can experience the deep intimacy of deciding with God.
Discerning a Religious Vocation
But how to apply these principles to discerning a religious vocation? The best practical strategy is to get to know sisters. What attracts you about their way of life, their mission, their spirit, their way of being with each other? How do you feel when you are with this group? Can you be yourself when you are with them? Congregations all share a deep love of Jesus Christ and a commitment to spreading God’s reign of love and peace and justice in the world.
Each group has its own spirit, approach to mission and way of living community life. On paper many congregations may seem similar, so it’s crucial for you to spend quality time with some of them and reflect on what that was like for you. Getting to know different communities could be helpful in your discernment also as you see what attracts you to one of the groups.
“For I know well the plans I have in mind for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare, not for woe! Plans to give you a future full of hope. When you call me, when you go to pray to me, I will listen to you. When you look for me, you will find me. Yes, when you seek me with all your heart, you will find me with you, says the Lord.”
Jeremiah 29: 11-14
Speak to God of your desires and uncertainties. Let the assurance of God’s care and support for you during this time of discernment flow through you. What is this like for you?
Part 4: Discernment