What is discernment? It comes from a Latin word meaning to sift out, to distinguish, to separate what may be from God and what may come from egocentric interests. It is a process of listening to the inner movements and nudges of your soul.
In discernment you ask the questions: What gives me energy? What is my deepest desire? What do I really have a passion for? What is God’s will for me?
Things to keep in mind: Discernment is HARD WORK! Few people experience a summons that is clearly from God and whose message is both clear and easy to understand. God more frequently communicates through the ordinary, everyday events of people’s lives. Chances are God isn’t going to write you on FaceBook or text you on your cell phone about what you should do with your life. (If He does, write me, Sr. Ruth, at email@example.com and let me know so I have proof that He does such things!) Much PATIENCE and TRUST is needed in the process.
How do you know if you are called to a Religious Vocation?
Some Inner signs
- You feel a restlessness about your life
- While you may be generally content you sense something is missing or that you want ‘more’ and the more is not material goods or success or fame
- You feel drawn to share yourself and your talents for a greater good
- The idea of becoming a nun keeps coming back and won’t leave you alone, it haunts you
Some Outward signs
- Personal choices: how you choose to spend your time – you might find yourself drawn to read spiritual books, go to daily Mass, bible studies, go to adoration, perhaps you stop doing activities you used to enjoy because they don’t seem right to you anymore, ie. Going to bars, watching certain movies or TV shows, reading certain books, etc.
- You find yourself living much simpler or have a desire to live more simply
- Encouragement from others : someone says, “Have you ever thought about being a nun?
I think you would be a good one.” (you may at first laugh at the idea but then the remark won’t go away)
How do you know if you are called to a Contemplative/Monastic vocation such as the Benedictine Sisters of Perpetual Adoration?
Some myths: You have to be an introvert to be a contemplative...Anyone in a contemplative monastery is out of touch with the world...The more loud, vivacious and funny a person is the less chance he or she will be called to contemplative life...
All of the above are false. Some indications, but certainly not all, you might be called to a community like ours:
- You have a desire to spend time in prayer and can see it as an important ministry to the church and to the world
- You desire to live in community with other like-minded people and are drawn to the Liturgy of the Hours
- You are attracted to the prayer of Adoration
Discernment is a process that takes much prayer, time and ‘research’. It will be both exciting and perhaps frustrating.
A scripture passage to keep in mind during the process:
"For I know well the plans I have in mind for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare, not for woe!, plans to give you a future full of hope." - Jeremiah 29:11