The Key to Successful Discernment

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

from "Discerning a Vocation" by Fr Anthony Bannon, LC

Discernment will be truly successful if we find out what God wants of us, and then go do it. So much is obvious. It is not difficult to see how pointless it would be to search for our vocation if we are not willing to follow it.

What some might find surprising is that our willingness to follow our vocation is a major factor in our willingness to accept it, and our willingness to accept it is a major factor in our ability to discover it. Discovery is acceptance on an intellectual level that the vocation is there, acceptance is to admit it is something that should be acted upon, and action is the crown of the whole process - it is love made practice.

We cannot help but approach discernment with a certain number of prejudices and biases, be they positive or negative. Indifference in this matter is not part of our nature. The sacrifices that we know are entailed in following a vocation do color our willingness to accept its existence. Often, like a border guard faced with a person of questionable origin, we can question the vocation to death, playing it all by the book, prudently.

So the real challenge for a person considering a vocation is to be willing to follow it if he has one. The real problem is to acquire this disposition of willingness, unconditional openness. And this, rather than mere discernment, should be our concern.


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