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Tips for Discernment: Live, Serve, Pray, Talk
Dear Fellow Disciples,
In March, I had the privilege of being interviewed for a weekly “Vocations Focus” segment on Salt and Light Catholic Radio out of Boise, Idaho. (A recording of the interview can be found at: saltandlightradio.libsyn.com/morning-light-vocations-focus-mar-5.) At the end, the interviewers asked me to give some advice to young discerners. I responded with four points, which I believe are equally relevant to people of all ages as we seek to identify and to respond to God’s will.
Live: It is easier to move an object that is already in motion rather than one that is stationary. Similarly, if we expect God to move us, we also ought to be moving. This involves taking on the risks of living: learning from experiences, growing in relationships, developing hobbies, etc. Often, this will require overcoming perfectionism or the need to curate a specific kind of image of ourselves.
Serve: As we live, we must be attentive to the ways we encounter invitations to practice generosity and love, often in ways that stretch us beyond our comfort zone. As we open ourselves to the needs of our neighbor and the stranger, we also find ourselves becoming open to God’s summons to delight in his will and being.
Pray: We then bring our experiences from living and serving into conversation with God in prayer. For instance: Did a certain encounter make me feel more alive than I expected? Did an act of faithfulness to God result in a fruitfulness that is not my own?
Talk: We find encouragement and perspective by discussing our discernment with the people our Lord put in our lives to help us pursue his will, such as a spiritual director, pastor, spouse, or trusted friend.
If I were to add a fifth step, it would be “repeat,” since the invitation to participate in God’s plan of love is dynamic, specific, and lifelong. As we live as humble and courageous disciples, may we manifest the fruitfulness of God’s life in our own and inspire others to do likewise.