“Vocation is the place where our deep gladness meets the world’s deep need.” Frederick Buechner
This week, Srs. Pat Dual, Cathy Arnold and I had the honor of giving a short program on Discernment to the youth and young adult ministers for the Diocese of Columbus, OH. While preparing for this program I had ample time to reflect on my own discernment journey – its ups and downs and some of the companions I met on my journey.
To be honest, I had no clue what discernment was when I first began to hear a call from God. Looking around, I remember saying very clearly to God, “Who me?”
What was your discernment like? Perhaps you could reflect on your own discernment a bit and take it to prayer. Who guided you? What would you want to share with someone just setting out on their own discernment journey? Now, let me be clear – I’m not just talking about discernment for religious life – I’m also talking about calls to marriage, to single life, to becoming a doctor or auto mechanic – any big life choice you or I have made or have had to make.
I remember some good decisions I’ve made where I’ve sought God’s will through prayer, reflection and talking with my spiritual director. Other decisions may not have been the best – these were ones that I made “at the spur of the moment” or included a lot of “I” statements and myopic considerations.
One of the best discernments I made was that of choosing religious life. I went about it with method, with a spiritual director, with good friends I could consult, and I took time to research and to pray about it. I am grateful that I was able to connect with a discernment group led by Sr. Anne Lythgoe, OP, at Dominican Retreat in McLean, VA. Meeting others who were considering this “crazy” idea of religious life or service in the church really helped me put things in perspective and to ask and consider some good questions on my journey.
Some of my discernment partners are still in my life – others have gone their own way and I’ve lost touch with them. What remains constant is that they helped me in some way and have left their fingerprints on my heart and my life. I’d like to think that I did likewise for them.
Discerning a call to religious life? Give us a call to start the conversation and the adventure.