Becoming a priest or a man or woman religious is not primarily our own decision…. Rather it is the response to a call and to a call of love.
—Pope Francis, Address to Seminarians and Novices, July 6, 2013
Vocation means a call. It is God’s invitation, His call to each person to love and serve Him and His Church in a particular state or way of life. Each person’s vocation flows from the grace of Baptism. When talking about discovering your vocation, discernment means the process of that discovery through prayer, reflection and discussion as to how God calls each person to love Him, whether as a priest, a consecrated religious man or woman, a married person or a consecrated single person.
Discernment begins with the ability to ask, “Lord, how can I best serve you?” Only after you are willing to ask this question can true discernment begin. It is the Spirit that the Father has sent through Christ that is at the center of a church vocation, just as Christ Himself is the head of the Church. Hence this kind of vocation, while it is certainly a matter of professional guidance and consultation on a “career” level, is also far more than that. Here the assistance of a competent spiritual director is invaluable. While many people are well equipped to assist you in your discernment of a priestly vocation, there is no substitute for a priest. Whether it is one of your parish priests, a spiritual director or friend, the advice and direction received from a priest will be extremely beneficial in your discernment of a calling to the priesthood of Jesus Christ.
For more information please visit Office of Vocations at the Archdiocese of Portland http://www.archdpdxvocations.org/
“At last I have found my vocation. My vocation is love!”
St. Thérèse of Lisieux