Resources for Discerning your Personal Vocation
“Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine.”— Isaiah 43:1
So, you’re discerning a vocation to the priesthood or the consecrated life?
Welcome! We are so glad you’re here!
God will bless your generosity and openness. This time of discernment is like a pilgrimage. Jesus is the Way, leading home to the Father’s house. The Holy Spirit is your guide. As you walk together, He will lead you to discover many things about God’s Heart, your heart, and His wonderful plan for your life.
This resource page is like a supply store with things you can pack in your bag to help you on your journey. We have resources on how to discern and make good decisions. These resources are like maps, that will help you to make sure you are on the right path. We also have resources to help you grow in holiness here and now. They are the tools to help you along the way.
Before you start, here are a few important points to remember throughout your journey:
God has a plan for your happiness and holiness. Your state in life (whether you become a priest, a brother or sister, a husband or wife) is part of your vocation to become the saint you were made to be. Your unique vocation will unfold over your whole life and will be uniquely suited to your personality, desires, and gifts.
You do not have to wait to start living your vocation until you become a priest or a sister or get married. You are a child of the Father, Jesus is living in you, and He has poured His Holy Spirit upon you. You have everything that you need to live as a saint right now. Yes, discerning which state in life is important, but don’t focus on it so much that you lose sight of God’s presence in your life today.
A vocation to a particular state in life is not something you have to invent for yourself. If it’s authentic and from the Lord, the desire will come, will grow, and will bear fruit as you learn to move with the Holy Spirit. On the one hand, a vocation is not something you can force. On the other hand, you cannot lose it because it is a gift. Jesus just wants you to discover and respond to it. It’s like a dance: Jesus is leading the dance. Discernment is simply a process of learning how to move in time with the rhythm of His Heart for you. So, don’t worry about it. He will reveal it in His perfect timing. Just enjoy the adventure!
Your Map for the Pilgrimage: Resources for Discernment
Before you scroll through the rest of the list, please watch this short video on the first step to uncovering your vocation:
Tools for the Journey: Four Pillars of Formation
Many seminaries and religious communities base their formation process on four pillars of formation: human, spiritual, intellectual, and pastoral formation.
1) Human Formation
In human formation you focus on growing in basic human maturity and taking care of your physical and mental health.
2) Spiritual Formation
In spiritual formation, you focus on growing in friendship with God, especially in prayer.
3) Intellectual Formation
In intellectual formation, you focus on learning more about God so that you can love Him more.
4) Pastoral Formation
In pastoral formation, you practice serving others to become more like Jesus, who came “not to be served, but to serve…” (Matthew 20:28).
Each pillar supports the others, and they are connected to each other. By working on each of these pillars, you will be inviting Jesus into every part of your life, to help to grow in maturity and holiness. Practicing them now will help you to prepare for your future state in life, no matter where God calls you.
Beginning the Journey: How to Get Started!
We have a lot of resources for you to choose from, and the list may seem overwhelming.
Fear not! You do not have to do everything at once.
In fact, we recommend that you choose one thing to focus on from each pillar and set a goal to work on it for a set period of time (for example, 3 months). Below, you’ll find a Formation Worksheet which has a template for setting goals and a set of questions to help you to see if what you are working on is bearing good fruit in your life.
If you’re looking to learn more about the discernment process in general, we encourage you to start with the “General Discernment” page and look through the resources.
Remember, you do not need to work through all of the resources. Formation is a lifelong process. Get started by downloading the worksheet and asking the Holy Spirit to show you what you need at this time in your life.
Here is a simple prayer as you begin to look at the resources:
“Come, Holy Spirit! Please show me what you want me to work with.”
We recommend sticking with something for a set time because it takes time to build habits. If you stop too soon, you may not see the fruit of the work you have started. Also, sticking to one thing for a set time can help you to strengthen the self-discipline muscles that you’ll need, no matter which state in life you are called to.
If you reach the end of the time you set, you might want to choose something else or you may decide to keep doing it. If what you have been doing has helped you to grow in virtue and has brought peace, we would suggest sticking with it for as long as you see those fruits.
We hope and pray that these resources will help you as you seek to know God’s loving plan for your life. May God bless you for your openness to His will. Be assured of our prayers for you on your pilgrimage of discernment. If you have further questions or are looking for other kinds of resources, feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org