How do you hear God’s call in your lives? How do you understand what you
These questions have been asked throughout the ages and continue to be asked by all who seek to discern God’s presence and call in their lives. If you look at scripture, you find several examples of people struggling to understand God’s call to them.
While discernment has many parts, the first is a call to become aware. You are called to listen to God, to yourselves, and to those around you.
If you are to listen to God, then prayer is essential. You need to take time to be in conversation with God, to ask God for help and guidance. You have only to look to the life of Jesus to see the prominent place of prayer in discernment. As you read the gospels you find that before every major decision Jesus went off alone to pray. He did this prior to choosing the 12 apostles, and he spent much time in prayer as he prepared for his Passion and death.
While you need time alone, you also can find God’s voice in the voices of those around you. Your call is not for you alone. While you may grow personally and your relationship with God may develop as a result of your call, your vocation is always a call for others, a call to be of service to others, a call to pray for others.
Gail, a young woman considering religious life, says, “Without the voices of others, I know I would not be where I am today in my spiritual process. God has sent me ‘voices’ throughout my life, people that I may have only known for a short time and others whom I have known for a long while. I feel so alive and filled with love when we have spiritual talks. It is their voices echoing mine that bring light and peace into my life."
Discernment takes a lot of energy. Listening is not easy! Like Samuel, you are likely to hear God’s call several times before you realize
who is calling. But, with the help of your friends, your families, and your communities of faith, you can find where God’s call is leading you. Your task is to listen, to listen well, and, once
you’ve heard God’s voice, to follow it as did the disciples of John—following Jesus who asks each of you, “What are you seeking?"