Discerning a Vocation

The Importance of Prayer

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.

1. “Here I am Lord. Whatever you want me to do, I will do it. You gave me life; the least I can do is give my life back to you, to do with me what you know will make me most happy and fulfilled.” 

2. “What do you want me to do? Lord, please give me the wisdom to know what you are calling me to be, and the courage to follow whatever you ask.” I trust that God wishes to reveal himself to me, even more than I desire to know His will. 

Conversation With Others

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. Without a prayerful spiritual director, who has a lot of common sense, it is easy for us to become confused in our vocational discernment. We are often not very good at giving ourselves advice.

Often a spiritual director is a priest or religious. When searching for a spiritual director, we ask God to help us find a spiritual director who lives the kind of life that we want to live. 

Study God’s Word and the Saints

Study the Bible, the catechism of the Catholic Church and the lives of the Saints. Read up on religious and priestly life. Look at those ordinary men and women who have wrestled with your very same questions, and lived extraordinary lives because they trusted in God.

Samuel heard a voice calling his name in the night; Eli, his mentor, instructed him to respond to the voice of the Lord (1 Samuel 3:1-10).

With trust, Mary willingly surrendered her entire being to the plan of our Heavenly Father (Luke 1:26-38).

Saul met Jesus Christ on the road to Damascus; his life was radically transformed, and he became the great apostle, St. Paul (Acts 9:3-9).

St. John Vianney struggled with his academic studies. After his ordination, he was renowned for his wisdom and spiritual guidance in the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

St. Clare of Assisi, a beautiful woman who could have married any nobleman, followed her one true love, Jesus Christ.

Believe that God wants to work in your life just as profoundly and powerfully as he did in the lives of those who faithfully embraced his plan throughout the centuries. 

Some scripture passages relating to vocation: 
Gen. 12:1-4a (Abraham); 
Ex. 3:10-12; 4:1, 10-12 (Moses); 
1Sam.3:1-10 (Samuel); 
Jer. 1:4-8 (Jeremiah); 
Lk 18:15-30 (The Rich Young Man);
Lk 12: 22-31 (Seek first the Kingdom of God).

Write to the communities that interest you.

Visit the ones you feel called to.

Build a relationship with the one where you have a sense of coming home. Get involved in its summer or monthly 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, ask for the grace of patience.

Prayer of Thomas Merton

My Lord God,
I have no idea where I am going.
I do not see the road ahead of me
Nor do I really know myself.
And the fact that I think I am following your will
Does not mean that I am actually doing so.

But I believe that the desire to please you
Does in fact please you.
And I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire.
And I know that if I do this,
You will lead me by the right road
Though I may know nothing about it.

Therefore will I trust you always though
I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death.
I will not fear, for you are ever with me,
And you will never leave me to face my struggles alone.