How Will I Know?
Most of us who have ever wondered if the vocation to religious life was for us must have asked the question, "how will I know?" It comes in many forms. "What is God's will in my life?" "How do I find happiness and fulfillment in my life?" "What is the ultimate purpose of my existence?" "How will I know that God is calling me to live the religious life as a priest, brother, or sister?"
An inherent part of life is the responsibility to make difficult, challenging, and sometimes even painful decisions. To make important decisions often requires time, prayer, and discernment. Perhaps today more than ever, we face a greater multiplicity and complexity of decisions in ordinary day-to-day living. In the discernment process, we consider the options, balance the advantages with disadvantages, and carefully examine the consequences. "How will I know . . . what is good, right, or best? How will I know what God is calling me to?"
Before the rainbow shown in the sky, perhaps Noah wondered, "How will I know?" Before John the Baptist sent his disciples from his prison cell to find Jesus he must have asked, "How will I know?" When Thomas heard from the disciples that Jesus rose from the dead, he must have struggled with the question, "How will I know?" As Mary Magdalene gazed into the empty tomb that first Easter morning, she must have pondered, "How will I know?"
Today, as in Jesus own time, God continues to give signs to help us to decide, to discern and to know what the Lord is asking us. In particular, there are four general signs which are often seen.
1. Availability and Openness
§ Am I open-hearted to whatever God is calling me?
§ Am I disposed and free to respond to that call?
§ Do I sense a degree of potential satisfaction, hope, or joy when I consider religious life?
§ If it is God's will, do I trust that it can be fulfilled?
3. Proper Motivation
§ Is my primary motivation of a spiritual nature, such as serving and loving God and God's people?
§ Would I experience adequate happiness and fulfillment?
4. General Disposition
§ Do I have reasonably good health, emotional stability, social ease, and spiritual-centeredness?
In a more specific way, there is a rather practical spiritual discernment process which can be a tool or guide to help us determine what God is calling us to. This discernment process combines reflection, prayer, dialogue, and Scripture.
Are you discerning religious life?
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Dominican Sisters ~ Grand Rapids
2025 Fulton Street East
Grand Rapids, MI 49503