NAS: Discernment

Hey everyone!! :)  We are back for our second week... and it's all about discernment!  Anything you would like to chat about... let's do it.

Have you discerned your vocation?
How do you know?
What did you do?
How are you really sure that you are called to marriage, religious life or even staying single?

Gosh... we hear about this discernment thing all.of.the.time. in our Catholic bubbles, don't we??  We want to make sure that we are doing the Lord's will in all we do... so, we must discern it.  Go on a long term mission trip?  Discern it.  Change jobs?  Discern it.  Maybe move to a new place?  Discern it.  Your vocation?  Discern it.  I think you catch my drift.

The thing is... there is not ONE right way to discern.  It's so individual and so personal.

The most important and common denominator is that of prayer and having a close relationship with the Lord.

We cannot discern anything if we are not actively talking to the One that knows what we are supposed to be doing, right?  If you are not chatting with your BFF frequently, how are you supposed to know that you are meeting her for drinks on Friday?  You wouldn't.  The more you talk to her, the more the plans are revealed.  (is that a weird analogy?  Does it make sense?!  I hope so! haha)

So, first.  Solidify your prayer life.  Go to Mass on the regular... maybe even during the week.  Go to confession to help fill your heart and soul with more Grace so you will be able to see clearly.  Pray the Rosary (or start, if this isn't a habit for you yet).  Mary knows what is up with vocations... I mean... hello?!  She birthed Our Lord.  I think she understands where we are coming from more than anyone.

Wow, Jen... you seem to have your act together with this whole discernment thing.

HA! Pahhh-lease.  I talk a good game, but I don't always follow my own advice.  I fall short with my prayer all of the time... I always have time to go to Mass during the week and I choose not to.  I just went to confession over the weekend after quite a long stretch from the last time.  And, the Rosary... WHY can't I just pray it?  It really doesn't take that much of your time, Jen.

So, please don't think I am Ms. Perfect Catholic over here... I mean, there actually aren't any of those, unless you happen to be a reincarnation of Mary.  But, we don't believe in reincarnation... so there's that.

Ok, I digress.

So, how do I know that I am supposed to be married?  Well, for the sake of honesty... I am still not 100%.  I mean, I am like 99% sure.  I have prayed and chatted and prayed and chatted with the Lord about this, and I am pretty sure this is where He is leading me.

I went on a discernment retreat right after college with Carmelites in Los Angeles... and it was awesome.  But, I didn't feel any nudge towards the religious life.

In recent years I have really tried to put it all out there with God and really be open to the religious life.  Again with the honesty... I don't want to be a religious.  Part of me is still a wee bit scared that God wants that for me.  It's so countercultural.  It's such a radical life change.  My mom won't get her grandchildren.  And it scares the heck out me.  But, it's not about what I want.  It's about what the Lord's plan is for my life.

So, while I believe deep down that I am called to be a mom and a wife, it hasn't happened yet.  There is a chance that God is working on my heart so that His plan is fully revealed to me.  I have said to Him multiple times, though, "Listen, Buddy, you will need to be OBVIOUS about this.  Like, hit me upside the head if you want me to enter the religious life.  I don't do well will subtle hints.  Please, you gotta help a girl out, Lord."

I haven't gotten anything yet where I am like... "ohhhh!  there it is! :)  I am supposed to be in the religious life."  But, it could happen.  And right now, I think being open to it and keeping the communication going with God is what I am called to do right now.

As far as other practical things to help with discernment??  Hm, prayer. Yes.  Spiritual advisor, if you don't have one.  Don't know how to get one?  Talk with your parish priest or any priest that you are close with.  Your advisor doesn't have to be a priest, btw, it could be a religious, too.  Go on discernment retreats!  Read some books?  I don't have any good recs for that, however.  Do you?!  I could use some.

I will most definitely be praying for your discernment and that you will be able to hear and recognize the Lord's will in your life.  It's such a HUGE and important thing, we could use all of the prayers we can get!

And speaking of so many prayers... next week's topic is:
(What do you do?  How do you stay committed?  Fave way to pray? ANYTHING!)


  1. "Listen, Buddy, you will need to be OBVIOUS about this."
    LOL! I've said that numerous times too!

  2. I legitimately told Him that when I was job hunting last year
    "I don't know what you want me to do but I want to do whatever you have you're going to have to hit me over the head with it."
    And He did! :)

  3. I will be honest, I don't want the religious life, in fact it is a secret fear that God wants that for me. I have had too many point me in that direction and while I have prayed about it, I generally tend to pray with the hope that His answer is "of course not".
    Two verses I cling to are Jeremiah 29:11 and Ps 37:4 because 1) He has a plan for me, I have no idea what it is but I know it will be what is best for me. 2) I am called first and foremost to love Him, find my joy (delight) in Him, He knows the desires of my heart and will not fail to give them to me in the right time.

    Thank you so much for this series.

    1. Great verses... perfect for all of us right now. :)

      I am so happy that you are joining our series. I am really enjoying it so far!!

  4. I think my comments are getting eaten! This is a great post! We Catholics can kinda get discernment happy. :) Some recommendations: He Speaks to You by Sr. Helena Raphael Burns (not just for the consecrated!) and He and I by Gabrielle Bossis.

    1. Sorry about the comments... that's annoying. Ugh.

      Yes! I actually do have He Speaks to You! It's great. I'll have to look for He and I! thank you so much!

  5. Couldn't agree more with the being hit over the head bit! Seriously, I do noooooot do subtlety. I don't like it when I can actually *hear* someone speak it so I definitely don't want it in my prayer life! I'm also not so appreciative of this whole waiting game thing....haha I just like to know things! I'm guessing this is His not-so-subtle way of telling me I could use a little more practice with patience ;)

    1. bahahaha... yup, I feel like God always does the things that we don't feel we are good at to prove a point that in fact we can actually do x,y,z. :)

  6. Literally only getting a chance to properly read everyone elses posts now. And oh my word, reading this I'm like oh darn I should have talked about this, this, and this!! Jeez! For example, spiritual advice...and BOOKS! Maybe they can be expanded on in further topics.

    I really enjoy your writing style, I obviously have never met you, but I can definitely hear your voice through your writing!

    1. haha... I know... life gets in the way, huh!?

      And thank you so much... I preeeeetty much type/write how I speak. So, yea, I always hope my voice comes through! :)

  7. I TOTALLY get the "God better hit me upside the head with a two-by-four" notion and I tell Him that A LOT. Not quite two months ago I remember coming to Him in prayer and saying, "You either need to make this thing happen or make it go away because the in between is making me NUTS." Sometimes we just need to be clear and sometimes even when we are clear, He isn't ready for us to have the answer yet!

    Thanks for sharing (and hosting!) =)

  8. Late to the game, but I'm here too!

    Yes, prayer and Mass attendance are #1 I think. I am very very very very bad at that the past couple of years, but when I was majorly discerning my vocation, I was going to Mass every day and praying ALL THE PRAYERS!

    1. So glad to have you! Late or not! :)

      Your post was great!! Thank you so much for joining us.

  9. This is a really good book that I've read and a lot of my friends have read as well! It's called "Discerning the Will of God" by Fr. Timothy Gallagher

    1. Ohh... I'll have to check it out. Thank you so much! :)


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