Wednesday, July 06, 2011
Note: The following post is an excerpt from Sister Marie Kolble's recent post on Discernment.
Discernment does not require me to project my life out into the future so as to figure out what I am “supposed to do”, though my future is definitely at stake. NOR does it suffice for me to plot out my future following the model of life that someone else has lived, however beautiful that model might seem, or however highly the Church might esteem that model. Even St. Francis understood this, for near the end of his life he declared to his brothers that he had done what was his to do, and that they were now to do what was theirs to do.
Rather, the task of discerning one’s vocation is that of remembering who we are . . . of being able to “read” that “word” which God spoke when he created us and re-created us in baptism. When we grow in discernment, we grow in our capacity to “read” within our lives the meaning that God intended when he “spoke” us in the first place.
The process of discerning one’s vocation, then is three-fold: first I must desire to know the meaning God has spoken in creating me; second I must pay attention to the facts of my life; third, I must pay attention to how the facts of my life make me feel and to my interior desire for what is good and beautiful. This entire process necessarily happens within the context of prayer and a life lived in the presence of Christ, THE WORD, who “reveals us to ourselves” and makes our calling clear!
Discovering one’s vocation, then, is not primarily about discovering where we will best fit in the Church and in the world, though it will surely lead us to that place. Nor is it primarily about deciding what we think we would like to do and then going for it, though if we follow the longing of our heart, we will certainly find ourselves doing that which we love. Discovering one’s vocation is the process of discovering or figuring out who it is that God created us to be from all eternity, of discovering what kind of loving word the Father wishes to speak to the world through us. When we let the Lord sing this word in us, we become powerful instruments within the Church and the world for bringing about God’s Kingdom.