Promoting Religious Vocations Through Digital Media
Overcoming Obstacles: Conversation Topics
The third workshop in the formation program discusses a variety of obstacles young adults may encounter when discerning a religious vocation. Prior to talking with you, your discerner will send you a copy of their task responses and you will be able to view the questions they are answering.
This workshop is unique in that your discerner will be sending their task response for the first segment to you on its own, before they complete the rest of the workshop. This task asks them to identify where they are struggling in their discernment. They may ask to talk to you specifically about that task, or they may not.
We ask that you please respond in some form when this response is sent to you. This could be via email, phone call, or video call. Either way, we ask that you be especially pastorally sensitive with this response and in your conversation about this with them.
If your discerner writes or speaks about anything that might indicate they may harm themselves or others, or if they bring up something that you do not feel prepared to guide them through, please contact us so we can help deal with the situation appropriately.
The workshop presenter goes through a variety of obstacles and how to move forward by inviting God into them. Some of the main points from the workshop are:
God works with people in a variety of ways and it is normal for discernment to be difficult at times.
A feeling of stagnation or perpetual discernment can be overcome by taking a tangible step to move forward and by talking to someone living out a religious vocation.
It is important to bring all fears or feelings of loneliness to God so we can be aware of His presence and rely on Him to help us move past them.
Self-knowledge is crucial for being able to discern well.
God’s mercy is stronger than our sin. It is important to seek forgiveness and not limit our vocations based on past sins or experiences.
If family or friends are having a hard time accepting someone they love is discerning, it can be helpful to let them meet a religious so they can learn first-hand about what religious life truly is.
All human hearts are made for true self-gift. This means that the spiritual motherhood or fatherhood are true expressions of parenthood, just as a relationship with Christ can be truly spousal.
These questions are meant to be a resource, but don’t feel limited to what is listed here. Always feel free to bring up additional questions or highlight different task responses. Discerners will also have a list of suggested questions to ask you.
Where do you think you have been challenged in your discernment?
How has God worked with you in the past to help you in times of difficulty?
Have you ever encountered a difficult situation that you feel made you better in the long-run?
Do you feel that you are able to feel God’s hand at work in your discernment?
How have your family and friends reacted to your discernment?
What are some tangible steps you think you would like to take to help you move forward through any struggles you may be encountering?