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How To Discern

What is Discernment?

Sometimes our vocation is not always obvious to us, and it’s important to seek opportunities to recognize what our life’s mission is to be. That’s where discernment comes in. Discernment is being aware and reflective of your heart, to see how God is moving and leading you. When one takes time to discern, one takes specific actions to reflect and determine one’s calling, including the following:

  • Critically assessing oneself to determine where one’s passions and loves truly lie. 

  • Praying for the ability to understand the answer, and turning to Scripture for guidance. Below are a few recommendations:

    • Matthew 19:16-30 – Jesus’ encounter with the rich young man.

    • John 1:35-51 – The calling of the first disciples.

    • Luke 14:25-33 – Following Christ no matter the cost.

  • Speaking candidly with one’s pastor, ministers, vocation directors and spiritual directors – people who have experienced this same period of discernment and who may ask important questions that help steer your journey. 

  • Taking time to experience the daily life of a missionary, seminarian or other role that is of interest. 


It’s important to acknowledge that discernment does not happen overnight. Indeed, it can take years. Be patient, the answer will come.




Three Questions of Discernment

Below are three questions to ask yourself if you are considering discernment:

  • What do others say about me with regard to the priesthood?

  • What happens inside of me when I think about the priesthood – joy, peace, excitement?

  • What are the needs of Church and the World?




Signs You Might be Ready to Discern

If you have ever thought about being a priest, and have experienced some or all of these signs, you may have what it takes for a vocation in the priesthood. 

  • God has placed in your heart a desire to be a priest.

  • You have a deep love for Christ and His Church.

  • Other people have mentioned you would be a good priest.

  • You desire to live a life of virtue and prayer.

  • You want to help others grow closer to Christ.

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