"It was a call that came to us from without, but also one that arose up within us, as from His Spirit." — Constitutions of the Congregation of Holy Cross, 1:4
The heart is a powerful receptor of God’s will. The desire to know and to follow the Lord is planted in our hearts from our birth. Throughout our lives, the Lord stirs our hearts to reveal His holy will for us. A key component to any Christian discernment is to attend to the heart, yet first the heart must be prepared to recognize the Holy Spirit's movements and promptings.
Begin not by asking, but by knowing God
Before asking God what He wants you to do with your life, you need to know God personally. You come to know God through regular participation in Mass and Confession, time spent reading and reflecting on Scripture, time spent in personal prayer, and service offered within the context of the Church. As you grow in your relationship with God, you also grow in your ability to understand His will for you.
Be a true disciple of Christ
At the heart of any Christian vocation is the call to be a disciple of Christ. This discipleship then is where your vocation begins. If you are to give your entire life to Christ, you need to begin by giving your daily life to Christ, avoiding temptation and sin and growing in virtue.
Be free to hear and respond
Obstacles and fears prevent you from hearing God’s voice. To clear these obstacles, you must face them and ask for help in clearing them away. You must be willing to let God set you free. You must also be willing to allow others to help you in this. As the obstacles are cleared away, you can truly pray, “Your will, not my own.”
Once you have prepared your heart, it is time to ask the question.