and is it a strict regime?..or just prayer?
“Discerning” means using judgment. The term discernment is often used for the process of deciding on a vocation, a calling in life. Some are called to marriage, some to the single life, some to a religious vocation, i.e. as a priest, religious brother or sister.
Discernment of a Call to Lay Ecclesial Ministry
Among the baptized, all of whom are called to serve the mission of the Church,
some experience a further specific call to lay ecclesial ministry. The call may come
in a dramatic moment. More often, it comes over time, as the person grows—
within the community of faith—in love for God and a desire to do his will. One
begins to consider that the graces received could now be put in service to the
Church. A period of discernment begins.
Discernment of a call to lay ecclesial ministry is a process that requires prayer,
dialogue, and evaluation. It is both personal and communal, involving family and
friends as well as colleagues and mentors. For married lay ministers, their spouses’
participation is important, since ecclesial ministry significantly affects the marital
relationship. Adolescent children might also be included in the process, since they
will be affected by a parental commitment to ecclesial ministry.
A variety of experiences may characterize the initial period of discernment,
including increased sacramental and liturgical practices, retreats, days of prayer
and recollection, and individual or group spiritual direction. Pastors, parochial
vicars, deacons, lay ecclesial ministers, teachers, and advisors all play an important
role in the discernment process. These connections to the Church provide a
supportive environment in which one can decipher, test, and strengthen a call to
lay ecclesial ministry. In effect, the discernment becomes not only personal and
communal, but ecclesial as well.
Co-Workers in the Vineyard of the Lord
A Resource for Guiding the Development of Lay Ecclesial Ministry
It’s pretty much sifting through everything that comes to you in life, and from that trying to figure out how would be the best way (for you) to live out the universal call to holiness. For most people, it’s marriage. For some, it’s religious life.
Yes, it involves active prayer; but just as importantly it involves the part of prayer usually forgotten about: listening.