In your own words, what would you say one aims to figure out when discerning their vocation? Please no copy/paste of others’ ideas.
There is no back story to this, I’m just genuinely interested in the various answers my fellow forum members will give. I further invite those that have already found their vocational state in life to respond.
I think that one should really think about what their vocation may be, before discerning it. When you begin discerning, I think you should first learn the first things about your possible vocation. Although I am a girl, I will use discernment to the Priesthood as an example. A man can say, “I want to be a Priest.” But, there is so much more than just “being” a Priest. You have to go through many steps before that, such as college/Seminary. (Forgive me, but I am unsure if you are required to go to college before entering Seminary). If that man does decide he wants to be a Priest, what type of Priest does he want to be? Diocesan or religious? The same goes for my discernment to the Sisterhood. One can’t just say, “I want to be a Nun.” You must look and see what is required. Before that, you have to know if you want to be a Nun or a Sister (yes, they do mean two different things), then if you want your lifestyle to be cloistered, semi-cloistered, missionary, etc., and then look into the orders that match what you want to do/be. Then come the requirements, which vary very greatly from order to order. A vocation is so complex, no matter which one it is, which is why discernment is so important. I’m sorry for drifting off into vocations but something my RC Priest once said is, “When you choose a vocation, you stick with it.” I know I’m technically copying someone else’s words, but I thought it was important to include in my answer. In other words, you can’t just one day up and say, “I want to be a Priest!” then go through Seminary, Ordination, then 5 years after your ordained, say, “Yeah, I don’t think this is for me.” That’s not how a vocation works, which is why, again, discernment should be a main priority in your life, especially when it could be a life-changing decision.
As for my discernment/vocation, I am almost positive my vocation to the Sisterhood is true, and that it is what I’m meant to do in life. However, upon the instruction of my RC Priest, and of a few close relatives, I do plan to go to college, so I can be sure it is right. If you’d like clarification on anything, feel free to let me know! I hope I could give you a good answer!
It certainly begins by living a devotional life in the state of grace. When I discerned, all I really did was what every Catholic should be doing: going to Mass weekly/occasionally daily, going to confession every couple of weeks, praying a Rosary and 20+ min of mediation daily, and staying out of sin. It seems hard to know anything about your vocation without doing this for a few years.
I’d say the aim of discernment is to figure out the best way for you to live out the Universal call to holiness. I really found the Ignatius Rules of Discernment helpful. In my case I did my best to take an objective look at my life overall, as free of emotions as possible, and find the overarching pattern that pointed in one direction or another. In my particular case I felt the picture being painted by God on the canvas of my life was one of monasticism. In the end though we are really just making an educated guess and trusting that God will correct us if we misunderstand Him.