What is Discernment?
Discernment: Meaning to sift through; to sort out.
This term is used frequently by those who are considering a vocation to the priesthood. The discernment process helps a young man to sort out "God's call for him."
Practical suggestions which will help a young man discern a call to the priesthood:
The sacrifice of the Mass is the Church's greatest prayer of praise. At Mass we are fed and nourished by God's work and the Body and Blood of Christ. A young man discerning a vocation to the priesthood is encouraged to participate in the daily celebration of Mass so that he can grow in his relationship with the Lord.
Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament
This is a powerful way to grow in love for the Eucharistic Lord and to grow in the spiritual life.
Daily Prayer is time set aside for God alone, usually in a quiet place at a specific time each day. This prayer time can consist of talking to the Lord in one's own words or praying with the Sacred Scriptures, especially the Gospels. Developing the daily habit and pattern of prayer will help the young man to hear more clearly the call of the Lord.
Speaking with a priest about one's prayer life and seeking his advice on a regular basis is very helpful as one discerns a vocation to the priesthood.
Examples: a weekend retreat at the seminary, vocation weekends of recollection, come and see weekends, or by joining the St. John Vianney Vocations support Group. Joining a group of other young men discerning a vocation are invaluable in helping one to come to greater clarity of God's call to the priesthood.
Get involved in some form of service with the Church. For example; outreach to the poor, teaching religious education, lecture, taking Holy Communion to the sick, working with the youth of the parish, etc. are ways to give one a taste of "ministry" and can also increase one's desire for ministry and service.
Devotion to the Blessed Mother
Praying the rosary daily and seeking the powerful intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary is recommended when a young man is discerning a vocation to the priesthood. The Blessed Mother had to respond to her vocation. She is most helpful in helping others obtain the grace to do the same.
Talk to a Vocation Director
To obtain further information about seminary and priestly life. The Vocation Director can also help one's discernment through regular meetings so as to discern with the young man the authenticity of his call.
Download PDF: How to Discern the Elements of Your Personal Vocation