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Can the Church help me discern?
The Church is made up of God’s chosen people, chosen from among the nations to help others hear His call in their lives. We are a community who continually strive to discern what God asks of us both individually and as a Church… so YES we can help!
St. Paul tells us that as Church we are the living Body of Christ here and now with Christ as our head. Just as God is a community of three persons, so we are created and called by God to live in community (the Church). As living members of this body, our unique Vocation in life helps us to build up the Church. There is no greater witness than that of example.
In the Church we come to know Christ through his Word and Sacraments, in the presence and the service of others, in silence and in prayer. Through coming to know Christ more intimately, we come to know our real (authentic) self and hence out own unique, particular Vocation.
Being a living member of the Church helps discernment… So commit yourself to a particular Church community (parish). Don’t wander through the desert for the next 40 years! Take root, attend Mass regularly, and make use of the Sacrament of Reconciliation in that parish. Don’t wander between parishes as you will just be an anonymous figure. Remember you are trying to discover your true self!
Jesus is waiting to talk to you and you to him… Most parishes have regular periods of Eucharistic Adoration. Come to Jesus in person and spend some time with him each week. The Eucharist is our most powerful encounter with him. Those who attend periods of adoration, sitting silently with the Lord, often remark on the clarity that time brings to their lives.
“I have sinned against heaven and against you”… We are weak and we fall. Sin is a division between us and God. If you are concious that you have sinned, attend the Sacrament of Reconciliation (Confession). Build up a relationship with a priest making them your regular confessor. They can help you through your struggles because “everything is possible with God”. Clear the division and let the Lord in.
“Speak Lord your servant is listening”… Remember Samuel? Visit God’s word as often as you can. Pick up the Bible and read. Some parishes have Bible Study/Faith-Sharing groups. Join one of them and explore your faith – many people have found them helpful in discovering God’s will for them.
Examine yourself… Ask yourself questions like ‘What is the most loving choice I can make?’, ‘Which choice will help me be more fully myself?’, ‘What are my skills?’, ‘What do I enjoy doing?’ and ‘Is there any REAL value in persuing x, y, z?’
Pray… Prayer is essential for developing a deep, loving relationship with God. Make a commitment to pray daily and stick to it. Let the Holy Spirit in, so the call may resound.
A Reminder… FIND A GOOD SPIRITUAL DIRECTOR! You cannot discern without the help of a guide.
Be involved… Taking an active part in the life of your chosen parish opens you up to the gifts of the Spirit. It also gives you a greater perspective on life within the diocese and the universal Church as a whole. The more you give, the more you will receive. Your natural talents will rise to the surface, and you may find you have some talents you didn’t even know you had!