Discernment Tips


#1

Hello,

I've been looking around for materials on how to discern a calling to the diaconate. In what I've come across, I see that many deacons say that their discernment more or less began with their formation. This contrasts what I would expect, since a close friend of mine who recently entered the seminary spent years discerning whether or not he was called to become a priest, even before entering seminary. He would attend events and discernment retreats that eventually led him to the realization that God was calling him to the priesthood. He is also very prayerful and frequently went to adoration, which I'm sure played a key role in his responding to God's call. I feel a little bit confused at the moment, although I'm trying to patient and trust in the Lord. There have been several instances where I feel that God has tried to communicate with me that he wants me to be a deacon, but it's hard to know for sure that it's not just my subconscious playing tricks on me. There have also been 3 or 4 times where people have asked me if I've considered becoming a deacon, and this is something I definitely don't bring up to people, with the exception of my wife. It's quite strange to hear people ask me about something that's on my mind without them knowing it's on my mind. Despite feeling like I might be called, I'm challenged by the fact that I've only just turned 30, and I'm only 2 years into my marriage. It makes no sense to me that the Lord would be calling me to a vocation for which I don't meet the requirements yet. What I'm looking for is advice on how to listen to God better, so that I might be able to know if I'm truly being called. Perhaps there are some books that might help me in my situation. Any advice will be greatly appreciated. Thank you very much, and God bless!


#2

Discernment varies for people. Some will enter formation without being fully confident, and some will enter totally sure of themselves. Neither is better, as it sometimes happens that the totally confident ones withdraw, while the unsure ones stay (such was the case with my vocation director). Ultimately, it's up to you. What you really need to get to is a point where you feel confident enough to at least begin learning. I'm not sure how long formation takes for permanent deacons, but I imagine it's at least four years if not more, so you will have plenty of time to decide. One thing that you should definitely do to help your discernment is to get a spiritual director. They are great aids in determining the will of God.


#3

I've done some looking for how to find a spiritual advisor, but they are a bit challenging to find these days. I need to pray for one more regularly. Thank you so much!


#4

[quote="mountainman99, post:1, topic:229136"]
What I'm looking for is advice on how to listen to God better, so that I might be able to know if I'm truly being called. Perhaps there are some books that might help me in my situation. Any advice will be greatly appreciated. Thank you very much, and God bless!

[/quote]

I don't think books will help you nearly as much as a spiritual director. It's their ministry to help you listen to God better.


#5

[quote="SuscipeMeDomine, post:4, topic:229136"]
I don't think books will help you nearly as much as a spiritual director. It's their ministry to help you listen to God better.

[/quote]

Quite true. With regard to the books, I guess I was also looking for something that might help me learn to pray better. My mind is sometimes racing or distracted, so it's hard for me to slow down, be still, and focus. I'm guessing a good spiritual advisor would help me with that as well. Great advice. Thanks!


#6

[quote="mountainman99, post:3, topic:229136"]
I've done some looking for how to find a spiritual advisor, but they are a bit challenging to find these days. I need to pray for one more regularly. Thank you so much!

[/quote]

I'm not sure where you are, but if the Oblates of the Virgin Mary or the Dominicans are nearby, I heartily recommend them. They're great religious priests who provide excellent spiritual guidance.


#7

I’m not sure where you are, but if the Oblates of the Virgin Mary or the Dominicans are nearby, I heartily recommend them. They’re great religious priests who provide excellent spiritual guidance.

I’m in the Denver area if that helps.


#8

[quote="mountainman99, post:7, topic:229136"]
I'm in the Denver area if that helps.

[/quote]

You might start by checking with your parish. Pastors are often too busy to do spiritual direction themselves, but they may know of someone who is available. You might also check with nearby monasteries, convents, or retreat houses to see if they either provide spiritual direction or can recommend someone.

Jesuits are awesome spiritual directors and you'll find them at both Regis University and St. Ignatius Loyola Church in Denver.


#9

Thank you once again. I've contacted a wise man from our parish who seems to know people in hopes that he might guide me to a good spiritual director. God bless!


#10

[quote="mountainman99, post:7, topic:229136"]
I'm in the Denver area if that helps.

[/quote]

That's perfect! The Oblates of the Virgin Mary run the Lanteri Center in Denver, which is there for the specific purpose of giving spiritual direction. I'm sure if you contact them you'll be able to get a great priest to help you.


#11

That's perfect! The Oblates of the Virgin Mary run the Lanteri Center in Denver, which is there for the specific purpose of giving spiritual direction. I'm sure if you contact them you'll be able to get a great priest to help you.

This is very encouraging. I will definitely look into this. Thanks and God bless.


#12

So I thought I'd provide an update, since your posts sent me on a bit of a journey. I contacted a good friend from my parish who knows everyone, and he referred me to a gentleman at our church who is actually in formation at the Lanteri center to become a spiritual director. It turns out that I knew this man, since we both take Holy Communion to the hospital one Saturday a month together. This gentleman was unsure of what advice to give me without checking with other people at the center. There was debate over whether or not I should attend a Lenten retreat or if I should meet with a spiritual director for more specific direction. The opinion of the people he spoke with was for me to attend the retreat, but he advised me to set up a meeting with our pastor, and see what he thinks. For some reason, I am very afraid of this. I know that I shouldn't be, but I feel weird approaching him about this. The reason I posted here was so that I might find some certainty on my own before I had to make such a move. Now that I'm being told to make that move, I'm very nervous. Pray that I can find the courage and humility to do this. Thanks:)


#13

Good evening,
I myself am questioning my own vocation. As for spiritual advisors. Find someone who you want to be like, find that reverent Priest that is the total package. Not the most friendly one. It is a mentor type relationship. How can someone just like you make you a better you?
I picked the Priest who at times made me feel uncomfortable. Because, he is the total package. And he challenges me. He does not allow me to feel sorry for myself or not be chariable. And I have grown to love him for it. When we began he told me.
I am to distracted, that with prayer you gain focus. He was right.
Spending time in Eucharistic Adoration is the best time he spends all week. I now agree.
He challenged me to be a better me and had the gut's to tell me what I needed to change. As he put's it.
"I love you the way you are but, I love you to much to leave you that way."
Find someone who you know will challenge you and ask them. If they cant do it they can more than likely point you in the direction of someone who can.

Enjoy the journey, God bless,


closed #14

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