Discernment fatigue


I have been discerning a vocation for almost a year now, but over the past few months, I have grown increasingly weary of the discernment process.

To start, I’ve been told for most of my life that I should consider the priesthood. Honestly, I never wanted to become a priest, I had other desires and ambitions, so I never really took these suggestions seriously. However, about 2 years ago, I was going through a tough time and started to further rely on and understand the Catholic faith. I started attending Mass more than once a week, research doctrine and the lives of the saints and I started to become more drawn to the priesthood.

Eventually, I started to feel called to the priesthood about a year ago to the point that I felt excited about going to seminary and the thought of ordination. I talked to a priest and the diocesan vocation director who both led me to get more involved with discernment retreats, Masses and encouraged me to continue praying for my vocation. A lot of people at my parish know I am discerning as well.

But this feeling of excitement has waned over the past 6 months. It just seems like discerning has become a chore. I used to feel eager to pray, and now it feels like an obligation. I’ve gotten to the point where I don’t know what God wants me to do.

I still think about going to the seminary, but I can’t get over the thought of giving up my job and move away to another part of the country to pursue something that I am lukewarm about.

Has anyone else experienced a fatigue in discerning their vocation? All of the other discerners in my diocese have grown in their vigor for the priesthood, and it seems I am the exception.


I pray God gives you a clear answer to your question. Only He knows.


Honestly, I think your discernment answer is right in front of you, so to speak. It has been my experience that the closer I come to make a choice about something that is in the direction God desires me to go, the more peace I will experience, as well as a sense of energy. Yes, you have to be careful that it is not your own will speaking over God’s, but the peace I am speaking of is quite different than that of simply liking your choice or idea because it is your own.

In fact I am experiencing this now, as new doors are finally opening for me that I never planned on, could have no way of initiating on my own, and are not even necessarily the direction I wanted to go, but probably are the direction I need to go. I have gradually experienced a new energy, (not some sudden explosion of energy), that has been absent for literally a good 10 years. I am finding new strength everyday, that is minute in nature, but sure.

I have to wonder if your fatigue is a sign that you don’t have a vocation to the priesthood, but some other calling. I would suggest you take time to review your own experiences over your life to see if you can identify a pattern in your decision making that might enlighten you in this regard. ?Do you have a degree and why did you pick that degree? Did you start out with one career idea and change your mind and why? How did you decide to live where you live, attend the Parish you attend? Look for some commonalities and see if there is a pattern that allows you to see God’s role in those choices, and then review the one you are trying to make now.


Let Him make the first move, then. Take a break from discernment. It does get tiring.



I too will pray for you but must let you know that ups and downs (fatigue) can be very normal in anything we might pursue as feelings can wane. We don’t live strictly by feelings but by faith. Do you spend time in Adoration Chapel? If so, great, go and ask Him what to do, then just sit and listen or read scripture. He loves you and wants you to know His will, but sometimes it takes patience. :signofcross: mlz


I just wanted to say that if you are finding it a chore to pray that could be a good sign. If you haven’t read “Fire Within” by Fr. Thomas Dubay you should. In a strong prayer life there does come a point of dryness but we must persevere. True love is not an emotion, it is a choice. So choose to continue to chase after God even through the difficulty.


Yes, I also am experiencing fatigue in my vocational discernment. It’s quite a paradox to be discerning cloistered religious life, but feeling ridiculously dry in my prayer life. :shrug:


I’m telling you, you have to read “Fire Within”. It takes a look at the writing of St. John of the Cross and St. Teresa Avila. According to both of these doctors of the church all contemplative prayer naturally leads to a dryness. This dryness is very healthy and should be sought after more than the emotional prayers we had before. I can’t do their thoughts on this justice in this post but if you feel called to contemplative life “Fire Within” is a must read.


I’m really going to have to look into finding that. I’ll look it up in my library system right now.


Have you ever thought about other vocations? Such as the married life, if you are holding off with being a priest perhaps because of wanting/needing to fulfill your deepest desire that’s in your heart. Or is it something else that’s holding you back?

My deepest desire is marriage someday, so I found that although exploring the religious life created peace nothing else followed, & I wasn’t being truly honest with myself and God. For awhile, I told God that “your will WILL be done,” but recently found that God wants us to pick the vocation that we think will bring us the most happiness specifically to serve Him. Pray about what’s holding you back from priesthood… there’s a reason for everything… ask God to show/teach you what His plan is for your life. Put Him at the center of your life deeply, & everything will fall into place.


understand now as you look more deeper into this life that ‘discernment’ is not a ‘process’ to enter into a vocation; this is a lifelong commitment (to discern) - as you continue on - you will realize that it is something you do each and every single day for the rest of your life - whether you are a priest or a religious.

many of us in formation can relate to this; this is not a unique thing really - everyone seems to experience that ‘honeymoon’ moment in the beginning (of formation) and then when that wanes off - you go off to this (mini) dark night of the soul - kinda experience. Things become routine, monotonous, dry prayer life, cant seem to connect, etc. This is a true time to really dig deep, to listen to the Holy Spirit and persevere - because the other option is to leave formation and move on to other things. So dont be afraid of this experience - if you feel you are being called to Holy Orders - persevere - meditate on the crucified Christ and be inspired by His perseverance.

What did Francis asked of the God? “Lord tell me what to do…”


I wanted to be a nun. Was doing discernment but my parents said no. I went to nursing school. Then, I met my husband. Now, WE have 4 adult children who do not go to mass. 3-believe. 1-became an atheist after her husband was killed in iraq.
Now, their salvation is at stake. I’m not going to get JOB WELL DONE! So, I occasionally wonder if my calling was the convent?
Thus, it wouldn’t be wrong to go to the seminary and try it for awhile. You’ll never regret going, even if you leave. Then, if you get maried, etc., you’ll never wonder.
Dry spells come and go. When, first, starting a relationship w Jesus there is excitement. Buy, we can fall upon a dark night of the soul. ELI, ELI SABACHATHANI! MY GOD WHY HAVE YOU FORSAKEN ME!
We are not babies now. As teenagers, we are mature enough to keep on reading the Bible, going to mass, receiving sacraments. The JOY COMES IN THE MORNING!
Jeremiah 29 / 11. I HAVE A PLAN FOR YOU. IT IS A GOOD PLAN WITHOUT EVIL. IT HAS A FUTURE AND A PURPOSE. Angel of God, our guardian, dear. To whom God’s love commits thee here. Ever this day be at my side. To light, to guard, to rule and guide.
God, place around this child, signs that will help him discern, which path he should take.
Thank you for answering this prayer


When you pray the Angelus, bring your children to mind when you repeat “Behold the handmaid of the Lord.” I did this for my son who recently passed away. He seemed to be making strides back to the Church before his death. I gained insight that the reason he did the “saved” thing was to attract the attention of a girl who cheated horribly on him.

Your children will sense your discomfort with your family life because of not being able to try your vocation with the priesthood or religious life. You’ll need to ask God to give you your vocation or give you peace. Now that the children are grown, what are you going to do? Stay with hubby or begin discernment regarding religious life again?

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