Discerning your vocation is a matter of reflecting on God’s call and considering how you are being led to answer that call. There are several tools for discernment and several ways to attend to it.
A helpful method of discernment is to spend some time with questions that lead you deeper into the consideration of your vocation. Often, we know that the Spirit is at work in our hearts, but don’t give it the time it deserves. Or, if we are willing to spend time with it, we are not sure how.
Below are several questions to aid your reflection on your life and your calling. Writing out your thoughts on these questions or discussing them with either your spiritual director or a vocation director can be helpful.
My current state: Before you can consider where you are going, it is good to start reflecting on where you are now.
Why are these questions preoccupying me?
What are the resources that can assist me in finding answers to my questions?
Who are some of the people I can turn to and talk with?
Are there pressing matters that I need to attend to before I can get to the deeper questions of my vocation?
My relationship with Jesus: As His disciple, your vocation is wrapped up in your relationship with Christ.
How would I currently describe my relationship with Jesus?
What are the things that have drawn me closer to Jesus and helped me know Him more?
What are the things that have drawn me away from Jesus?
What is my prayer life like, including the celebration of the Sacraments and the reading of Scripture?
How closely is the desire of my heart aligned with Jesus’ desire for me?
What might I do to know Jesus more, grow closer to Him, and unite my will and desire with His?
My vocation discernment: Before asking specific questions about the priesthood and religious life, it is helpful to first consider the bigger picture.
What are some of the options that I am considering?
What do my skills, abilities and interests point to?
What do other people encourage me to do?
Are there any thoughts on my vocation that will not go away?
Do I connect my consideration of my future with God’s call for me?
Do I truly want to know what God has in store for me? Have I asked Him?
Am I willing to follow God’s call if it is made clear to me?
My discernment of religious life and priesthood: Spend some time specifically focused on a possible call to religious life and priesthood.
What events/moments have prompted me to think about a vocation to the priesthood and religious life?
When did I first start thinking about a vocation to the priesthood and religious life?
What are the times and places in which these thoughts surface?
How have I reacted to these thoughts?
What attracts me to the vocations of priesthood and religious life?
How have those thoughts or attractions changed over time?
Who are priests and brothers that I look up to? Why do I admire them?
My obstacles and fears: Before you can move forward in your discernment, it is important to consider the things that may be holding you back.
What are the obstacles external to me (such as debt, familial obligations, etc.) that keep me from being free to hear God’s call?
What anxieties and fears internal to me (such as loneliness, unworthiness, uncertainty) prevent me from freely asking God what His will is for me?
What are the sources of my fears?
How can I begin to address and overcome my fears?
My past discernment: As you consider how to move forward in your vocation, it is helpful to look back at how you have made decisions in the past.
How do I usually make decisions?
What has helped me to move forward and make decisions?
How have I avoided making decisions or delayed making decisions?
How would I characterize my discernment up until today?
In what ways have I sought the Lord’s input, particularly through prayer?
What have I been listening for or waiting for in my prayer?
What input and resources have I sought and utilized in my discernment?
My current discernment: Considering what has worked in the past, look forward to how you might move ahead in your discernment.
How have you made decisions in the past?
What has worked well in your past experiences? What has not worked well?
Are there other lessons learned from your past decisions that you can apply to your current discernment?
How might I bring questions to God or listen to Him differently?
What is the next step that I need to take in my discernment?
What questions do I still have about how to go forward in my discernment?
How will I seek to address those questions?
Whom can I speak with to help me in my discernment?
What concrete steps can I commit to? (Daily Mass, regular meditation, service)
Seminary: Spend some time reflecting on your understanding of the seminary, what you know and what you don’t know. Consider how you might learn more or explore whether you have a vocation to the priesthood.
What is my understanding of life in the seminary?
How do I know if it is accurate?
How can I gain a better sense of what life will look like in the seminary?
What attracts me to the priesthood?
What indicators have there been that I may have a vocation to the priesthood?
What is my understanding of the priesthood?
Religious Life & Holy Cross: Spend some time considering your understanding of religious life in Holy Cross.
What is my understanding of religious life?
How do I know if it is accurate?
What do I know about the Congregation of Holy Cross?
What questions do I still have about Holy Cross?
What attracts me to religious priesthood vs. diocesan priesthood?
What attracts me to Holy Cross?
What would I envision myself doing as a priest and religious within Holy Cross?
After you have spent some time reflecting on your vocation, you may have further questions about discernment, the religious life, the priesthood, or Holy Cross. Often, the best way to address these questions is through a conversation with a vocation director. Feel free to Contact Us.
Or you can see if some of these questions are addressed in the Frequently Asked Questions section.