Thursday, March 21, 2013

Discernment: Availability and openness

Discernment:   Many times, an inquirer will ask the question: How will I know whether or not I am being called to become a sister, a priest, a brother. That is a very normal question. Mary, in the Annunciation, wanted to know how it would happen that she would become the mother of the Son of God. John the Baptist wondered whether Jesus truly was the Messiah.  Thomas doubted the resurrection of Christ.  Mary Magdalene didn’t recognize Jesus, thinking he was a gardener.  So, wondering, not knowing, is part of the getting to know part.  God gives us signs or answers our questions along the way, as He gave an answer to Mary, to John the Baptist, to Thomas and to Mary Magdalene. He will give each inquirer an answer as well. 

Four ways in which those answers might reveal themselves are: “availability and openness, desire, proper motivation and general disposition.”

Let’s look at “availability and openness”—Are you available to the will of God; that is, if you think God  might be calling you to become a sister, a brother, a priest, are you open to that vocation in life? Are you open to taking the steps that will lead you to greater knowledge about that vocation in life: visiting convents, seminaries, monasteries? Meeting with vocation directors in person or through phone conferences to discuss religious life or priesthood, to talk about the call? Will you make yourself available to attend discernment retreats offered by vocation directors, either arranging individual discernment sessions with a vocation director or attending a discernment session scheduled for groups of men/women interested in this vocation in life? 

In short, are you “openhearted to whatever God is calling you”?

 (Source: “How will I know? Discerning the call to religious life,” Priests of the Sacred Heart, Hales Corners, WI, 2000).

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