Discerning the Call

The call of the Apostles is the same 2000 years ago as it is today. The Office of Vocations is here to help you discern if Jesus is asking YOU to become a fisher of men. We invite you to explore this section for ways that you can discover who God has designed you to be.

To discern your vocation is to discover God’s purpose for your life. It always begins with deepening your love for Jesus – of giving your whole life to Him – and then asking, “Lord, where are you calling me?”

Discernment involves listening to God, learning about yourself, and seeking the guidance of others. To begin, re-dedicate yourself to daily prayer; look deeply into your heart to see the desires God has placed there. Give it time and be patient as God reveals His will.

Discernment is not a solitary endeavour. Be sure to reach out to others – especially a priest you trust – to seek his insights concerning your vocation.

What is Discernment?

Because a vocation is a serious commitment of one’s life to follow God’s call, proper effort and care are required to determine what God’s call is. This diligent consideration of what God is calling one to do is called vocational discernment.

Proper discernment requires a person to:

  • Know and understand oneself – personality, strengths and weaknesses, inclinations, spirituality, mental ability, even physical health.
  • Know, understand, and love our Catholic Faith.
  • Understand the different vocations, what they entail, and what they mean for the lives of those who embrace them.

Of course, this cannot happen instantaneously, so vocational discernment is not a quick and easy task. Once begun, it often takes months and sometimes years to determine which route to begin. And once begun, it often takes years to determine the final answer to the question, “what is my vocation?”

Thus, discernment requires prayer, study, and patience. And one cannot discern alone. The best way to discern is with help from the Church – ideally from a priest or someone trustworthy to help guide you. This spiritual director can help you to better understand yourself and where God is calling you.


“Praying to hear God’s call to you – Praying that others will hear God calling them”

Whether we are discerning our own calling or supporting others who are, we must always be praying. It is to the Priesthood of Jesus Christ that men are ordained, and it is in him that we find our deepest fulfilment and truest meaning.

If we are to find our path in life and support others in doing so, it is in prayerful union with God that we begin our journey. If we are to hear Him calling to us and asking us to join our lives to His in the priesthood, then it is only in the context of that intimate friendship with God in prayer that we will hear that call.

Read inspiring Scripture passages

Prayerfully reading scripture can spark a great conversation between you and the Lord. Here are a few suggested passages to get started:

  • Matthew 19: 16-30 – Jesus’ encounter with the rich young man
  • John 1:35-51 – The calling of the first disciples
  • Luke 14:25-33 – Following Christ no matter what the cost

Talk to God about your friends and family

Everyone, no matter how holy, can always live more perfectly. Think about the things in your life which may be holding you back from making commitments to God. Start with the little things – but don’t be afraid to tackle the big ones!

Contemplate life changes

Everyone, no matter how holy, can always live more perfectly. Think about the things in your life which may be holding you back from making commitments to God. Start with the little things – but don’t be afraid to tackle the big ones!

Confront your fears and ask for courage

For a healthy single man, considering a celibate life without the comforts of a wife and family is difficult, since our nature draws us toward family life. Many men are afraid that seminary will be too challenging, or that public speaking will prove too difficult.

Speak to God about these concerns, then ask for courage and peace. If you confront your fears now, with God’s help, your discernment will be much less complicated.

Ask God to show you your strengths

If God is calling you to priesthood, he will have given you certain qualities that will make you a good priest. Spend some time examining your personal gifts, then imagine how you can use them to help others as a priest. You may discover that you have a lot to contribute to the Church!

In the end, spending time with Jesus should be like a conversation with a good friend. Speak to Jesus from your heart and then listen.

You’re not likely to hear anything with your ears. Instead, “hearing” will result in an increase in understanding, acceptance, and willingness to follow God’s path for your life.

Prayer is the surest way to know what God wants you to do with your life – and to gain the grace and courage to do it!

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