How does one discern a vocation?


Hi, I'm 16 years old and returned to Catholicism last year after being gone since I was little.

My question is simple: How does one discern what is God's will in their life in terms of either getting married, becoming a priest, or joining the religious life?


Pray, pray, and pray!

Honestly, prayer is the only way to discern God's will and in your prayer keep an open mind. If you feel drawn to a certain vocation read about it and learn about that specific vocation so you can have a better knowledge of the vocation. If you feel drawn the priesthood or religious life get in touch with your vocations office and see if there are any retreats for high schoolers. Again, pray and keep an open mind.

God bless in your journey and remember discerning one's vocation is not the end of discernment we are called to discern all things.


Discernment is a life long process that has unlimited turns and many "What the heck God, you want me to go where?" It takes lots of prayer, patience and also some steps of faith. I suggest that you read some books about discernment and vocations because when you are young, the sky is the limit. Just try to study hard and get your education because God may use that education to help you preach the gospel. Remember you don't need to become a priest, nun or monk to preach the gospel either. We need hard working individuals in all professions of this world from politicians to teachers, medical professional and more.

As you discern, I suggest that you get some direction, it will help you as you figure out where God wants you to be. I also suggest that you join a Catholic youth groups or an association for Catholic youth because it will also help with the vocational process as well as help you meet and make friends with some really cool young people who are on the same journey.

Good Luck


Contact a vocation director, or your pastor. And pray like crazy. Say the liturgy of hours, at least the morning and evening prayer from the Shorter Christian prayer book. And pray the rosary every day!, it helps. I am doing a 54 day rosary novena to make sure I pray it everyday.


One word: Adoration.

Pray at adoration. You can't get the wrong message.


Thank you everybody for your answers! :thumbsup:

I've been interested in the Divine Office but I wouldn't know the first place to begin. :o

I should have known that prayer was the answer. Someone, I think it was Fulton Sheen, said that one needs to spend just as much time in prayer listening as talking.

Again, thanks!


If you're interested in taking a look at the Divine Office you can find the current edition HERE and the pre-Vatican II versions HERE.


Discernment is not an easy process, by any means. I have been discerning for 4 years and still don't know if I am called to religious life or not. My friend, who is a novice in the Sisters of Life, was discerning for 7-8 years before she found her calling. There are things you can do to make the process easier, though.

First off, get yourself a spiritual director. I haven't had much luck finding one because there are a lack of resources in my diocese, but hopefully, you will have more luck in yours. SDs are invaluable. If you don't know who to ask, go to your parish priest to see if he can recommend someone to you. Or call your diocese's vocation office. They mostly deal with men who are discerning the priesthood, but often times, they can direct you to a list of spiritual directors registered in your diocese.

Second, spend a daily or weekly Holy Hour in Adoration. Go to Mass often, too. Being with Christ in the Eucharist strengthens you and is the best way to hear His will.

I definitely agree with those who said to pray often. I used to think that discernment was all about seeking orders and seeking signs, but we can get so wrapped up that we forget prayer and lose sight of Jesus even though we may be seeking Him. So, set up a daily schedule if you can. This is something that my Catholic therapist recommended to me, but anyone can do it. First, create a diary of your daily activities so you will have a tangible list to go by and then create blocks of time in your schedule where you have the free time to go to the Chapel for Adoration or Church for Mass. Saying the Divine Office is so important. Religious and priests pray it daily and is a good way to stay close to Jesus. I've read that if you cannot find a spiritual director, saying Divine Office can help you until you do.

I know what you mean about being lost in Divine Office. I use the website and they have podcasts of the daily prayers so you can follow along. You don't have to worry about flipping pages, either. If you have an iPod Touch, iPhone, or iPad, you can download a breviary app. There are two free ones I know of--iBreviary and BrevMeum (BrevMeum is a little more complicated, though). Then there is also the app from called DivineOffice, but it's $14.99. They make praying the Divine Office a no-brainer.

Read scripture, write a journal, AND visit communities that you are attracted to. If you don't know how to go about this, visit some vocation websites like Institute for Religious Life or CMSWR (Council for Major Superiors of Women Religious). There is also Vision Network and Deo Est Gloria.

If you do all of this and stay open to the voice of God in your heart, you'll be certain to hear His voice when He speaks. :)


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