anyone here familiar with Ignatian Spirituality?
"…the evil spirit speaks only to the imagination and the senses, whereas the good spirit acts upon reason and conscience."
cited in Catholic Encyclopedia
the tools of discernment are fully given upon receiving the Baptism of the Holy Spirit (confirmation or chrismation), so while sometimes it seems impossible to know what God’s will for us exactly is, often we simply need to take time out and do some “soul searching”. the answer is always singular, objective, and “to intensify love for God.”
as such, it is reasonable (God will not want you to do something you’re not capable of) and conscientious (as St Augustine says, the conscience is the Holy Spirit working in us, the conscience speaks as God’s voice to us). both require some deeper thought and meditation - activities often precluded by our daily urban lives. prayer - far from being just discipline in the traditional sense - can give us that daily personal time with God, to grow closer to Him so we can hear His voice with greater clarity.
and btw… i happen to think that marriage is a tougher vocation than the religious life. dedicating yourself fully to God is a much surer way to heaven! being married means you have to face the challenges and temptations of the secular world with just one person as your guide - and you will eventually also have to guide your young ones. how many of us are ready for that? the typical religious life supplies you with both a religious community and a spiritual director - ideal social conditions for seeking God. or are we merely stuck on the idea of celibacy? remember: even the married are called to a chaste life (CCC 2349), so marriage is not to be seen as a “ticket for sex.” which all the more makes marriage a tough vocation!