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By Father Charles Irvin

What is God calling me to be? A step-by-step guide to discernment

Perhaps you have asked yourself, “Is God calling me to be a priest?”  “Is God calling me to be a sister?”  If the hint is in your heart and mind, you can assume that God put it there for a reason – a reason that may remain mysterious regardless of how your eventual life will unfold. Do not easily dismiss the idea; do not assume that God couldn’t possibly be calling you to something special. God brought you into life for a purpose. You were not born because of a chance rolling of cosmic dice. From all eternity, God had you in his mind. If you don’t love God as who you are no one else will.

OK, once you get past that hurdle (and the devil will make you jump over lots of others!), the next thing you should do is give God some time alone with you in prayer – meditative prayer that allows you to see your life as you imagine God sees it. Tell God that you love him and ask him to guide you and fill your thoughts with his thoughts.

Next, take some good, in-depth looks into yourself. Do you like people? Do you love to help people? Are you naturally caring? Do you want to please God? Are you able to talk with God, to listen to the whisperings of the Holy Spirit deep within you? Do you believe the Holy Spirit is quite capable of inspiring your thoughts and your imagination with mental pictures? Of filling your heart with particular feelings? Beware of the devil trying to convince you that all of these inspirations are simply the result of your own fantasies.

Finally, don’t be hesitant about talking with a priest or a sister about your suspicions that God may be calling you. After all, they had to go through the same sort of discernment process. If they went through it, they are certainly capable of helping you with yours.

A calling from God is a precious thing for the whole Church. It’s not something just for you alone; it’s a gift for us all. So be generous. Have courage; set your fears aside. Remember that Jesus repeatedly had to tell his disciples not to be afraid. Remember that God doesn’t play dirty tricks on us. Have faith, have confidence and let God lead you into the life he wants for you. His heart speaks to your heart. Remember, too, that the heart has its reasons the mind doesn’t know about.