St. Therese Society

a group of college and young professional women in St. Louis seeking to deepen their spirituality and grow in holiness while discerning a possible vocation to religious life

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Location: St. Louis, Missouri

"Charity gave me the key to my vocation. I understood that the Church had a Heart and that this Heart was burning with love. I understood that Love comprised all vocations, that Love was everything, that it embraced all times and places...in a word, that it was eternal! My vocation, at last I have found it...My vocation is Love!"

Friday, October 27, 2006

Discernment

Our happiness in life depends on becoming who God has created us to be. That’s why it is critical to discern our vocation.
Perhaps the hardest part of discerning a vocation is simply figuring out: “What is God’s will for me?” At times, we would all like to follow a few easy steps and end with an answer to our life vocation. Unfortunately, it’s not that easy. Discernment is not so much a technique as it is the fruit of an intimate relationship. For example, a married friend of mine said that the longer he is married the closer he grows to his wife — so much so, that he sometimes just knows what she wants without even asking her. Knowing his wife’s will is the fruit of sharing their lives together and growing in intimacy.
So it is with God. The closer we draw to Christ, the more clearly will we know his will.
We do that through prayer and sacramental life, the first ingredient for discernment. Without attending Mass, regular confession, and prayer, we may just as well throw darts, cast dice, or make a wild guess as to what God ’s will is for our life. Frequent reception of the Eucharist, confession, and persistence in daily prayer deepen our personal friendship with Christ and provide the opportunity to discover God ’s will.
Next to prayer and sacraments, spiritual direction is the second ingredient for discernment. At times, we are all master deceivers. We justify doing the things we want and try to manipulate God into believing our will is the best rather than surrendering to his will. That’s why it’s helpful to have a spiritual director. A spiritual director helps us see things more objectively and can point out how God is at work in our lives. A good spiritual director has a deep prayer life and is faithful to the teachings of the church. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you find a good spiritual director. Consider especially a priest or religious Sister.
Finally, the third ingredient for discernment is interior indifference. A simple way to put this is “openness.” If we are attached to things or our own preferences, we will be blinded to God’s will and not be free to follow it.
Every vocation involves surrender. We must believe that God is our loving Father and wills our good. Having this trust allows us to be open and surrender our lives into his hands. Often it is only when we let go of our own will — and desire only God’s will — that the path we are meant to follow opens up with clarity and leads to fulfillment.
--Fr. Brian Schieber

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