Making Discernment a Way of Life
About this articleUse these suggestions to integrate discernment into your life. These ideas challenge the common misperception that vocation discernment is a one-time event.
Use these suggestions to integrate discernment into your life. These ideas challenge the common misperception that vocation discernment is a one-time event.
Explore and be open to options. Think, "My way may not be the only way." Be aware that your own perspective is formed by your personal experiences and that there are many other ways that people grow up and live as adults. Talk to some of these other people.
Get the information necessary to make good choices. Many good paths have been left untaken for lack of understanding and awareness. Search the Web, read a book, or interview someone; become a vocations explorer. Not one minute spent in discovery is wasted.
Learn how to be attentive to the Spirit at all times. At the end of each day, ask yourself four questions:
- How was God revealed to me today?
- How did I respond to God's grace in my life today, especially in being attentive to the needs of others?
- For what do I need to ask forgiveness?
- For what do I give thanks to God?
Find a good mentor, guide, or spiritual director, as well as good companions. Someone once said that a true friend is like a mirror of the self. Mentors, guides, spiritual directors, and friends help us to see ourselves more completely, for better or for worse, and thereby help us to grow.
Pray alone and with others. Effort is what counts when praying, not perfection or style. The following ideas will get you started:
- Find time for silence and a place that is holy ground.
- Allow your mind and heart to be touched by the word of God regularly.
- Select a passage that is your touchstone (for example, Psalm 51:10: "Create in me a clean heart, O God."). Be attuned to what may become a favorite prayer or mantra (for example: "God, give me the gift of a generous heart.").
Develop the art of listening and the art of being quiet. Take time each day to be quiet and reflect on the events of the day to hear ways in which God is speaking to you.
(Adapted from Catherine Bertrand, "On Responding to God's Call: Points to Consider on Vocations" in Origins, volume 30, number 35, February 15, 2001)
(This material is adapted from Catherine Bertrand, "On Responding to God's Call: Points to Consider on Vocations" in Origins, volume 30, number 35, February 15, 2001, and is also printed in An Inside Look: A Leader's Guide to the Vocations Series, by Clare vanBrandwijk [Winona, MN: Saint Mary's Press,2002], page16. Copyright © 2002 by Saint Mary's Press. Permission is granted for this material to be used for classroom or campus ministry purposes. This material may not be republished in any form without written permission from Saint Mary's Press. To order this book, contact Saint Mary's Press at 800-533-8095, or visit our online catalog at www.smp.org/catalog.cfm.)