God's Constant Call

God is calling out to us. He always has; it is one of the themes in Scripture that is God calling out to people and people respond to Him. So listening for God’s call is something we do naturally, though we don’t always do it well.

Early in the Catechism of the Catholic Church we read:

"The desire for God is written in the human heart, because man is created by God and for God; and God never ceases to draw man to Himself. Only in God will he find the truth and happiness he never stops searching for…" (CCC 27)

God speaks quietly and slowly over a period of time. It would be easier if a message from God manifests in a way that is easy to understand or making use of they way we regularly communicate, but He has never worked that way. So we need to patiently listen in order to hear the message. Being patient and having good listening skills is something that we have to consciously work at every day, especially when this listening to God is achieved through the communion of prayer.

God has an important task for each of us

God has an important task for each of us. He offers us the ability to not only to receive His grace, but also participate in the continual process of creation. We have a responsibility to hear what God is asking of us and to undertake that task.

Discernment of God’s call is a process of putting ourselves in the presence of God over a period of time in prayer, so that we can be motivated by Grace, God’s divine assistance.

We cannot take a test to see if we have the skills for priesthood because the priesthood is not about skills and qualifications, it is not a career that we choose, but a special appointment made by God Himself, undertaken in obedience and deep humility.

“You did not choose me, but I chose you,” Jesus said.
John 15:16

Our first responsibility is to determine to what state of life God is calling us: marriage, holy orders, or consecrated/religious life. Once we know the state to which we have been called we must cooperate with God’s grace and answer God’s call.

Fulfilling one’s vocation requires grace from God to be able to live the calling authentically. If we do not have grace then we will not be able to sustain any vocation, be it to married life, the priesthood, or the religious life, simply by willing ourselves through the actions. At some point we will tire and stop.

The key in discernment

So the key in discernment is being able to see if our motivation comes from ourselves or by ourselves imbued with grace. To determine this requires prayer, time, and action.

This is why the setting of the seminary is so important.

It is in the seminary that one can start to take on the habits needed in the priesthood. Living in the daily habits of morning and evening prayer, Mass, adoration, academics and recreation joined with working with the staff and faculty will help a man to determine if he is graced in the life state or if he needs to continue to search for God’s call in another state of life.

“He must increase but I must decrease.”
John 3:30