TEN TIPS FOR DISCERNMENT
Discerning the call of God takes an immense amount of courage and inner strength. To hear God’s call one must possess a true desire to grow in holiness and to welcome God into their lives.
Consider these 10 tips, which will help you on your spiritual journey to God.
1. Go to Mass
The Eucharist is Jesus Christ. If you make Mass the center of your life you will grow and God will provide you with spiritual direction. When receiving the Eucharist in Holy Communion, enjoy Christ’s presence and share your burdens with him. To further your understanding of the Catholic Mass please contact the Vocations Office in order to receive one of the following books: “Mass Explained” or “The Lamb's Feast".
2. The Sacrament of Confession
Through confession, we receive Christ’s forgiveness. Do not be afraid to confess your sins to God for He is merciful and just. Confession will provide you with the strength and tools to conquer temptation. Words spoken within the confessional are spoken in confidence and there are few things more rewarding for a priest than to be an instrument of Christ’s forgiveness and to aid the willing on their path toward righteousness. St. John Vianney, the patron saint of priests, viewed confession as the most important part of his ministry. As a result, he spent up to 14 hours a day hearing the confessions of pilgrims who would journey to his church from all over France.
3. Daily Prayer
Prayer is a direct connection with Christ. Make a commitment to daily prayer and be faithful to it. If you struggle with prayer ask Christ to teach you as he taught the apostles, who became the first priests. The heart of prayer is desire; the desire to receive the love of the Father, found in the presence of Christ. Prayer will open your heart and strengthen your commitment to God. Your priest or spiritual director will guide you on your journey to a better understanding of prayer and the Vocations Office will provide you with helpful resources.
4. Talk To A Priest
Utilize the priests in your area to help guide you on your spiritual journey. It is important to seek direction when undertaking a new role. Your parish pastor or the vocations director will provide guidance if you are considering the priesthood. Through compassion and understanding a priest may serve to strengthen your faith and affirm your desire to become closer to God.
5. Read the Gospels
The Word of God is spoken through the Bible. Therefore, it is important to familiarize yourself with the four canonical Gospels of Christ, which are found in The New Testament. By reading the Gospel of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John you will gain a greater understanding of God and his love for us. Begin by reading one chapter each day. It is as simple as recognizing the moral strength and selfless acts within its pages and understanding the feeling of compassion and love that they generate. Integrate The Word of God into your daily life and conduct yourself with compassion and love.
6. Devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God
Mary is your mother. In difficult times, you may pray to her for guidance, comfort, and strength. The Rosary can be easily implemented into your daily prayer. While the five decades may be recited in one session, you may also recite the decades singularly to help you become more familiar with the Rosary. The Rosary is often used during confession to encourage self-reflection and provide spiritual strength in times of need.
7. Eucharistic Adoration
Eucharistic Adoration is the act of meditating in a state of devoted worship in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament. Many priests have described a time of Eucharistic Adoration as a pivotal moment of their spiritual journey into the priesthood. It provides a moment of peace, clarity, and spiritual connection.
8. Live a Life of Virtue
God will help you overcome temptation. Pray for God’s guidance and he will give you the strength to overcome your vices. Look to the seven Holy Virtues to counteract the temptation of sin. The virtues will serve as a guide and help you achieve your vocation and fulfill your commitment to your faith. Admit to yourself and to the Lord the vices that have tempted you in the past and, through this confession, God will help you channel the seven Holy Virtues and guide you on the correct spiritual path.
An excellent resource is the youtube video:
9. Spiritual Reading
Books are an excellent way to feed your spirituality. Literature will help further your understanding of your faith. Knowledge is easily shared and discussed among peers and by expanding and sharing your knowledge you will gain greater understanding of yourself and Christ’s plan for you.
The Vocation Office recommends starting with:
“Priests for the Third Millennium” by Timothy Cardinal Dolan or
“To Save A Thousand Souls” by Father Brett A. Brannen
10. Surround Yourself with Good People
People are influenced by their peers. Your peers have the potential to be a good influence or they may be a bad influence. Friendships play an important role in human development. That being said, the people that you surround yourself with are important in determining who you become later in life. It is important to enjoy life and surround yourself with people, but it is also important that the individuals you surround yourself with encourage you to make the right decisions and respect your love of God. There are many opportunities to implement yourself into Catholic Youth Groups, where you will find relatable support to help you on your spiritual journey.