Discerning and Deciding

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boatI have been reflecting recently about how discernment of vocation can take on many different stages.
Often women who contact me to inquire about religious life will refer to themselves as ‘discerning religious life’ – at this stage it often means gathering some facts and looking at the practicalities within the context of their own prayer life. As time goes on the discernment is more within the context of the particular congregation, and will involve a more reflective process of sharing, discussion, and prayer with the guidance of a member of the congregation.

The active questioning and researching tends to move in time to a more quiet and reflective ‘being with’, perhaps visiting regularly, joining a community for prayer and a meal as the young woman begins to get a feel for the charism or spirit of the group , and vice versa.

Finally there comes a point where the discernment will lead to a decision… and the image that always come to my mind when I think about that point in a person’s journey, is the invitation of Jesus to Peter to step out of the boat and come to him across the water. It’s right that a decision is made, but it is always, in the end, a step of faith.

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