One of the most common struggles for the young man or woman who’s discerning their vocation is how to know God is calling us to one good thing or another. Good Catholic men and women may feel a strong call to marriage and family and yet at the same time in other moments to priesthood or religious life. With many of the decisions we make in our lives, there is clarity but often vocational discernment is about choosing between one good and another; and so this is one reason we wrestle with the decisions we have to make in vocational discernment. On the other hand, I know that I’ve met people who claim to have made the “wrong decisions” and in good conscience we don’t want to do that. I would posit that “wrong” is the wrong word, that even when we feel we’ve made a mistake, there’s much to be taken away from that for spiritual growth. We know men and women who got married when perhaps they feel they shouldn’t have, or men who were ordained to the priesthood and then figured out this wasn’t their vocation or religious sisters who did the same.
There is no easy, clear or absolute answer that will give any of us absolute certainty; but the only thing we can do is pray. I would also share with you that even when we are living out our vocation, we are still discerning day by day, and we need to remain rooted in prayer within a lived out vocation in order to do that. We can be assured that if we don’t pray, we will not get to the place we need to go. We need to pray and trust that the Lord will encounter us and speak to us in prayer. In the Gospel today; Jesus teaches the Apostles to pray, He teaches them and us the Lord’s Prayer because they ask. We know that the Apostles too struggle with prayer, but persistence and perseverance was the answer for them and it is for us too. It doesn’t mean things will always be clear, but it does mean that if we are faithful to prayer, we can be assured that we will be closer to the Lord, and we can be absolutely certain He will be close to us.
As Vocation Director, the men I meet are coming from very busy lives. One of the first things I encourage them to do [if they’re not already doing it] is to begin a prayer regime with the help of a spiritual director. As Jesus shares with us today, prayer is important and as our Shepherd and Guide, He teaches us to pray. Friends, if you hope to discover what it is the Lord wants you to do; what He has in store for you with your life You need to be close to Him to hear the answer to that, and the way we do that is through prayer. May God bless you.