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How do I discern?

Discernment is seeking God’s will in your life through the inner movements of the Spirit.  We are all called to discernment because a Christian life (vocation) is precisely a response to God’s will.

As young people, you have the amazing opportunity and priviledge to discern where God is calling you. Is he calling you to Married life, Consecrated life or single life?

Below is an acronym for the word "Discernment", it will provide you with tips on how to discern your vocation.

Don’t panic - Don’t let discernment freak you out. ‘Do not fear I am with You’ says the Lord. Do not be afraid, I shall help you’ Is 41:13

Include Jesus in your discernment, as funny as this might sound often we can be lead into a decision where we haven’t really made the decision or discerned it with the Lord. This can happen through our insecurities, love/lust, comfort, lack of responsibility, infatuation, judgement etc. In all that we do and all that we are, we need to include Jesus.

Seek wisdom. Seek someone wise! Try and find a Spiritual Director or someone who you know that can journey in prayer with you.

Contact with ……. If you are discerning married life, have regular contact with married couples, hear their story, ask questions. The same applies to single life, get to know other singles. If you are attracted to consecrated life have regular contact with the MGL Sisters, get to know them, spend time with them, ask questions!

Exercise Ignatius’ way of discernment (Here's just a few!) 

  1. Use Reason in prayer- look at the pros and cons. Weigh them up and then sit with each one in prayer.  
  2. Imagine yourself talking to someone else in your position – what would you tell them?  
  3. Imagine you are at the end of your life and you ask yourself, "what would I have chosen"? 
  4. Imagine that you are standing before the Throne of God, then surrender the choice and ask for confirmation

Remember to pray - Prayer needs to be given top priority. Seek Jesus in prayer. Sit with Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament – what is your heart saying?

Notice the signs - Notice the signs, do you get excited about:   

  • The desire of your heart   
  • A simple life  
  • Attraction to poverty, prayer and mission  
  • Jesus as your all   
  • Bringing the Love of Jesus to others   
  • To give all for the sake of the Kingdom  
  • Youth Ministry    
  • Ministry to the poor and marginalised

Move – We need to move in discernment. We need to be active. We can’t just let is His will pass by. We can’t just expect that God will come down stand in front of us and say ‘(Insert your name), I want you top be a Sister’.

Enjoy it – In Ecclesiastes it says, ‘young people, enjoy yourselves, while you are young. Make the most of your days of your youth Follow the promptings and desire of your heart.’  You have your whole life ahead of you, this is the time that you can lay down your life before God to see what has in store for you. As Pope Benedict XVI said at WYD08, "Let yourselves be surprised by Christ". So enjoy your youthfulness as part of your discernment

Nag Jesus – We need to constantly keep on nagging Jesus. Asking him, "Jesus what is you will for me?", Is this what you want me to do with my life?" Keep on coming back to Him, exploring His invitation.

Take time – don’t rush into big decisions!

More in this category: Tips from St Ignatius »