I have been Catholic for 6 years now and have never regretted the choice I made. (Or did I make it, or was I called?)
Anyhow, my question is this. God did not call me to do nothing and just sit on my faith and enjoy it, much as I do enjoy it.
Can anyone give me some advice on how to discern what God intended for me when I was called? I have spent endless hours praying/meditating on this, and while I am sure that I made the right choice swimming the Tiber, yet I feel no closer to knowing why. Surely it was not just to make me feel better about my spiritual life?
I hear Ignatian Spiritual exercises are very helpful for discernment. But what is it exactly that you are discerning? Are you trying to discern your vocation or something else? Even something such as being a catechist is a vocation in the sense that it is a call from God. But it isn’t a vocation in the sense of being married or being a priest or nun, etc.
Personally, I just try to keep God in mind before I leave the house, as I go throughout the day, and when I come back home. I have a picture of the Sacred Heart on front of my door which I always look at; and when I see it, it reminds me to give thanks to God and make a quick prayer. Before you leave home, pray that the day may help you get closer to God and that your actions will be a reflection of His will. When you come back home, give thanks. I think this may also help you to reflect on your day and see where God was and where He may be leading you. Try to find God in all aspects of your life and try to keep Him in mind in your thoughts, words, and deeds.
For me, after a year of being a committed Catholic I find that surrendering yourself completely to God is a great way to get closer to getting a start on figuring out your call. I know I worded that weirdly, but for some people, surrendering themselves is not the first thing they will do. For me, it was one of the first things I did; I’ve followed where God called and have never regretted it – and in fact, came out to be much better than I was a year ago. I kept trusting in the Lord and I expressed this to Him; that it is not about my will, but His will; that He may help me to listen to his call and to give me the strength to follow. I also would pray the rosary and ask our mother to bring me closer to her son, Jesus.
I like how you said
God did not call me to do nothing and just sit on my faith and enjoy it, much as I do enjoy it.
I myself am a convert of 6 1/2 years. Do you do any charity work like with St. Vincent de Paul or are you involved with any parish ministries?
Do you have an adoration chapel at your church? Do you spend time there?
Your question is good. You want to feel more fulfilled as a Catholic. That is good!
Personally, I believe our “purpose” is to love, nothing more.
How you go about that is up to you.
Some express this by feeding the hungry, giving drink to the thirsty, clothing the naked, visiting those who are sick or imprisoned.
However, one can do it by giving someone…a hug…a smile…a kind word of encouragement, listening to someone, attentively.
Some do this through work…or volunteering. One can do it through paid work, that whatever we do, we do it with great love from the moment we get up in the morning till we fall asleep at night.
We can express love through NOT saying something, holding our tongue, being patient with someone.
One can give someone a gift…even if it’s a love letter, a single flower, sharing food with someone…inviting someone who is lonely, including those who are, otherwise, excluded.
Some people…write a book…volunteer teaching someone to read or to speak English, work with animals, sick, dying. Some volunteer to fix someone’s car or really anything.
The sky’s the limit on things to do. Almost…where would one even start?
One could get a hobby. I did rosary making for a time, and I just give my rosaries away. One time, I gave them to a prison. Another time, I gave them to people who did religious retreats. Sometimes, I’ve given them for people’s birthdays…something I made with my own two hands.
Of late, I got another hobby…ceramics. I have discovered I LOVE it! Now, besides it being a work of art, thing of beauty, something that picks me up when I’m down by just looking at it, I’d like to use these as gifts.
For a time, I used to tutor ESL. I’ve tutored foreigners, in the US, who couldn´t speak or write English. I’ve volunteered in hospitals, interpreting, even filing.
For a time, I went around the city cleaning up graffiti.
I’ve called people for the church…cleaned, helped the sacristan.
I’ve helped just one time with a group …catechism. I didn´t teach but helped some who had trouble learning.
I’ve sometimes given away interpretations…gone with people to hospitals, Social Security.
If one knows crafts…knitting, crocheting, one can make those. Sometimes, they give them away in packages to new mothers with a new baby.
They have the “friendly visitors” in the hospitals.
There are volunteer parent aides, teacher’s aides.
In one knows computers, one can help with that.
When I lived in Alabama, there were volunteer organizations. I just went to one of those, said I wanted to tutor. They gave me a list.
If one hasn´t decided, they give you a questionnaire which helps you find your “niche”.
Anyway, there’s a LOT one can do, but really, our purpose isn´t in “doing” but “being”. Some say we need to BE love.
How you do that is basically writing your own story. THAT’S the challenge. THAT’S our purpose. Love…nothing more, nothing less.
A lot of very good answers so far. I think a good spiritual director can help you figure that out. Also, you can volunteer for things that happen to come into your path, I’ve done that whenever a need arises. Sometimes the more opposed you are to something, the better it turns out. I was the pro-life advocate for my parish for a few years, then I took care of the convent, now I’m teaching CCD. I’ve been thinking about doing a fasting weekend retreat for awhile but I’m still praying about that one.
I think you’re on the right path by praying and meditating about it, now maybe try to turn your favorite idea or thought into action, starting right in your home parish. Every parish has a need for volunteers. Perhaps ask your priest what needs to be done and don’t say no.
I am in a similar position, only that I have only been a Catholic for about nine months so I am not in much of a position to suggest anything. All I can suggest is to keep practicing your faith. God will show you where to go.
Grow where you are planted. Perhaps God wants you to become a saint the ordinary way and that is doing his will day by day by your best lights. Practice the faith, daily prayer and meditation, the sacraments, do your best to be honest and truthful and charitable with everyone, do an honest days work, etc. If God wants any more, he will let you know some how.
I have been discerning as well, for a very long time. Finding no specific answers, I have decided to just keep rolling with my current life, job, etc. and be grateful for all of God’s gifts. I reckon that must have been the plan for me all along.
It’s like praying for an answer but never receiving one. To a certain extent, we all like to believe a direct answer will materialize. But with no answer, I thought maybe I was being called to my graces. Maybe you are also being called to your graces.
That grace is the help we are given when we elect to be what God means us to be, giving ourselves over to whatever goodness we are meant to offer in our everyday world, to create, to redeem, to sustain.
I always thought I would have a primary role in my community, company, etc. and it was always ‘just around the corner.’ But over the years, no matter which way I went, which path I chose, etc. I always found others being chosen for the primary roles, and I was passed over. That means it was never in the cards to be other than a very normal, everyday humble person. Which is fine. Now that I understand there wasn’t anything in the cards beyond simplicity, I have more time to live quietly. Which must be God’s will.