Discernment ImageDiscernment is a real process by which we choose wisely the vocation to follow. It involves prayer and reflection alone and with others.

When we say that we all have a vocation in life, what this means is that God speaks to each of us in a personal way and has a preference for us. If we listen and respond, we grow to possess a sense of clarity about what our vocation in life is.
The Ignatian tradition sees God as actively and personally involved in each of our lives. God speaks to us directly in our hearts, minds, and souls through our thoughts and feelings, and through our inner movements and desires. However, not all of our inner thoughts, movements, and desires come from God. Therefore we have to discern which are from God and which are not. God is engaged in a lifelong dialog with us. Our role in the dialog is to pay attention, listen, and respond.

8 Steps for Discernment
  • Be Quiet in order to hear the Lord's voice calling. Take time to pray and meditate in silence about your vocation, especially in front of the Blessed Sacrament
  • Find a spiritual director - somebody you can be open with - who can help you to develop your relationship with God and to know yourself better.
  • Ask a priest, brother or sister in your parish to put you in touch with a vocation director.
  • Read up on religious and priestly life. Look at a good periodical on vocations and check out the ads.
  • Write to or contact the diocese or communities that interest you.
  • Visit the ones you feel called too.
  • Build a relationship with the one where you have a sense of "coming home". Get involved in its programs. Don't just talk the talk - walk the walk with them as well.
  • Wait for the Lord. Discerning your vocation is a process. God's timing is always perfect - but seldom seems soon enough!
  • Remember, if you ASK, SEEK, KNOCK, you may not find the vocation you thought you would, but by trying you'll have found out one of the most important things in life - self-knowledge. 

Adapted from