Signs, Questions and Next Steps
Suggestions to Help Guide You through the process of understanding your calling and practicing successful discernment.
The Questions to Ask...
- How have I experienced God's love in my life?
- How do I actively practice my Catholic faith and participate in my parish?
- In what way does the Gospel message excite and challenge me?
- Do I desire a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ?
- What do I desire that relationship to look like?
- What attracts me to the priesthood?
- Do I desire to offer my life for the mission of Jesus Christ and his Church?
- Can I name any fears or places of resistance?
Explore these thoughts to help guide your understanding...
What does God want of me?
The question is not really, “Do I want to be a deacon?” Rather you must ask yourself, “What does God want me to be?
How am I responding to God’s personal call?
Through our baptism, God calls each of us to be active in our faith journeys. A vocation (from the Latin word vocare, which means “to call”) is an invitation from God to a particular and specific ministerial lifestyle. An authentic vocation to the permanent diaconate receives confirmation from three sources—God, the individual and the Church.
How do I know if God is calling me to diaconal ministry or a more committed walk with Jesus as a lay minister?
This question is what discernment is all about. As you consider inquiring about a diaconal path consider that Christian discernment implies a life of faith and a sense of one’s relationship with God. Discernment requires a heart ready to listen and respond in prayer and reflection. Discernment also requires an open mind and heart prepared to learn about the diaconate and to decide what choice in your life will bring the greatest joy to God, the world and yourself.
The process of prayer and reflection that helps you make a decision about your life with help of the Holy Spirit is called "discernment." It is the process of sifting through or sorting out—and discovering God's will for you. In this process you deal with three elements: God, yourself, and the Church’s representation. During the process, hopefully, you will get to know yourself better and God better. As you begin, remember that both you and God ultimately desire the same thing—happiness. You want to make a decision about your life that will bring the most happiness to God. If you do that, this also will bring happiness to you in your life. Therefore, you and God really seek the same goal.
However, there is an additional step to discernment, and it follows the recognition of what you believe God is calling you to do. This is the confirmation of your call. If you discern a call to ordained ministry in the diaconate, Jesus’ Church journeys with you to reflect, pray and test your call. If the Church confirms that your call seems to come from the Lord, you are invited on a journey that may lead to a new way of life for you and your family. Those discerning a vocation incorporate a deeper level of prayer, simplicity of life, and commitment to the poor that fosters a spirit of trust. It fosters mutual respect and humility. Accountability in formation is an invitation to deeper conversion, and, a spirit of service and authentic obedience are visible hallmarks of discerning a personal vocation.