Keys to Discovering God's Will
Have you felt that God could be calling you to be a religious sister? No matter what your vocation, the process of discovering it is half of the battle. Done right, this process lays a firm foundation for your living out of this vocation, be it to marriage, dedicated single life, or consecrated religious life.
What is a vocation?
Our vocation is our call from God to share in His mission in the world, and it is given to us for our salvation and to cooperate in the salvation of others. We receive our vocation at the moment of our Baptism, then we spend the next several decades of our life trying to discover what that call may be, asking questions like:
- Who have you created me to be, O Lord?
- How have you called me to love and serve?
- How will my heart be fulfilled?
- Who am I?
Vocation, the secret within us
Since our vocation is given to us at Baptism, we can look at it as God placing this “secret” of who He wants us to be in our hearts. All too often we get caught up in the idea that “I just need to find the answer” and forget that sometimes the adventure is just as important as the discovery. This why we often speak of discovering our vocation rather than choosing it.
Why would God keep this a secret from us? We know our Lord loves us and does not play games with us, so why would He not tell us immediately who we are and what vocation He has called us to live?
It must be that the process of discovering our vocation is itself beneficial to us and to our ability to live the vocation most fully.
Searching for the hidden call can be beneficial
- Working to figure out this hidden call builds dedication and resolve. This determination is a powerful aid to your ability to live your vocation throughout the rest of your life.
- Properly searching for your vocation requires humility and trust, which help you to be more reliant upon God’s providence. This is also crucial to living your vocation well.
- To be effective in your vocation (no matter what it is), you must be good at listening to God and praying to Him. Time spent with Jesus exploring your vocation builds up your relationship with Christ and your ability to hear and listen to Him.
How do we unlock this secret of God’s particular call?
Here are some practical suggestions which are a good basis for a diligent discernment. Doing these things will not turn you into a priest or religious, but they are keys which move you toward the goal of becoming holy and more open to the grace of God at work in your life:
- Daily Mass: If you are not going every day or cannot go every day, then start small. Just go one more time than you are already going to Mass each week, and then as you get used to that add another until you find yourself frequenting daily Mass.
- Daily Rosary: If you are not currently in the habit of praying a rosary each day, just start with one decade and build up the habit from there.
- Daily Holy Hour: Many people do not have the opportunity to pray a holy hour every day, so try to just spend 10-15 minutes of quiet meditative prayer each day, and maybe have a more extended period once a week of 30-45 minutes.
- Liturgy of the Hours: also called the Divine Office, it is considered the prayer of the Church. Five times a day priests and religious stop to pray Morning Prayer, Daytime Prayer, Evening Prayer, Night Prayer and the Office of Readings. Many lay people join in saying this form of prayer daily. If you are not familiar with it, there are apps and websites dedicated to explaining how to pray these hours. Maybe just start with Night prayer, the shortest and the most regular.
- Frequent Confession: The Sacrament of Penance is considered the sacrament of discernment, because every time you go to confession you have to compare who you are with the person God is calling you to be. If you are seriously discerning a vocation to the priesthood or religious life, it is recommended you go to confession every 2-3 weeks, or at the very least once a month.
Each of these keys to unlocking your vocation is a goal to work towards. It is helpful to talk them over with your spiritual director to help stay on track and not get discouraged. As Our Lord did after He fell when carrying the Cross, get up and keep moving!