(Discernment) "has to do with the meaning of my life before the Father who knows and loves me, with the real purpose of my life, which nobody knows better than he. Ultimately, discernment leads to the wellspring of undying life: to know the Father, the only true God, and the one whom he has sent, Jesus Christ (cf. Jn 17:3)".
Gaudium et Exsultate #170
What is the meaning of life? If you cast your eye across the pages of a dictionary to see how it defines LIFE, the first thing you a likely to see is that to have life is to be in existence for a certain period of time book-ended by birth and death. Yet whilst this is true, delving a little deeper helps us to capture how such existence might be characterised.
A further dictionary definition then tells us that to have life is to have vitality and vigour. There are many ways that people seek to imbue such vitality in life, but Pope Francis tells us in his recent Apostolic Exhortation, Gaudium et Exsultate tells us that we need look no further than God, who knows and loves us like no-one else.
He reminds us that it is in and through God that we can truly discover what life is really about, and more specifically what our own unique purpose looks like. If this is true, then surely one of the most important steps we can take in discernment is simply to allow ourselves to fall in love with God and grow in the heart knowledge that he is madly in love with us.
Sometimes in matters of discernment people can be focused on wanting to ‘get it right’, but perhaps this is not the most helpful focal point. Consequently, as National Vocations Awareness Week begins, I challenge you to be bold in prayer – if you are seeking to know your vocation in life, set aside some quality time with Jesus so that you might fall more and more in love with him. Ask him to speak his words of love to you and give you the courage to respond.
And maybe if you are already living your vocation, pray for the young people who you know (and those you don’t) who are seeking theirs as well as your own discernment for other things in your life.