Discernment is a process, and every process takes time.
Discernment cannot be done in isolation. You need to talk with others about your hopes and dreams for the future.
To whom should you talk? Talk to your friends, parents, teachers, a Priest or Brother, a Sister, a Vocation Director. Anyone you trust and respect. Anyone with whom you can share your inner thoughts and desires concerning the possibility of being a a priest and/or joining a religious community. As you allow these persons to walk with you, you will find God's answer to your concerns and questions. So, start Talking! God and others are listening!
Your discernment involves both listening with your ears and with your heart. You listen to what God and others are saying to you. You listen to what you are saying physically and emotionally to yourself.
What is your gut reaction when you think about being a Religious and/or a Priest?
What feelings are you aware of when you think about choosing a celibate lifestyle, when you think about living in community,
when you consider joining a community of like-minded brothers who also want to live the Gospel? LISTEN TO YOURSELF! That is listening with the heart. That is hearing what’s happening inside.
Talking with and listening to God is really what prayer is all about. Listening with the heart is especially important in prayer. You need to let God know what is in your hearts and mind in prayer, but you also need to be quiet enough to let him answer. He often does this through thoughts and feelings during prayer as well as through other people and circumstances. Praying entails being aware of God’s presence within us and knowing that we are always in the presence of our loving God.
The final part of your discernment is taking some action as a result of your talking, listening, and praying. Calling a Vocation Director to discuss the possibility of joining a particular community, signing up to participate in a Come and See weekend, opting to seek entrance into the Postulancy Program: These are all possible actions flowing from discernment. TAKE YOUR FIRST STEP: GO FOR IT!
A good fit
To a large extent, discernment is the process of finding the best fit. That means finding which community best fits your hopes and dreams, personality, and so forth. At each step along the way you and the religious community are asking: Are we a good match? The answer is you’ll never know if you don’t begin the process and embark on the discernment. WAKE UP AND CONSIDER TO HELP CHANGE THE WORLD IN A SPECIAL WAY!
For more information about Franciscan Vocations, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 1-800-827-1082 / 1-513-542-1082.