Discerning a Vocation

We all have a vocation. We believe that God has called us to this life to fill a special need that no one else can accomplish.” – St. Francis de Sales

Discerning one’s vocation is a key part of everyone’s life. God continues to call men to the religious life and priesthood on a daily basis. The question many ask is: How do I know God is calling me?

You may have a vocation to the Oblates as a brother or priest if:

  • AlanDanYou are interested in being an Oblate priest or brother
  • You are attracted to the ministry (or “work”) done by the Oblates
  • You want to deepen your relationship with God and do so while living and ministering with a group of like-minded men
  • You possess a spirit of service and sacrifice
  • You experience a feeling of peace when you think about serving Christ as a brother or priest.
  • The thought of being a priest or a brother is frequently present or bouncing around in your head
  • The Church calls forth vocations – people have told you that you would make a good priest or brother.

If any of these apply to you, then we invite you to begin discernment into the Oblate way of life. Since discernment is always personal and communal,  consider walking with Jesus and us on this path.

Step 1: My Initial Motivations

  • Sit down and think about what you most desire in life. What is your goal? What is motivating your heart?
  •  What do you feel God and other people are inviting you to consider doing with your life?
  • Are you willing to respond?

Step 2: Foster a relationship with God

  • Establish a regular life of prayer – and not just in times of trouble. This prayer life should be both public and private. As part of this prayer life speak with God about your future.
  • If possible, find a Spiritual Director, usually a Priest or a Religious Sister or Brother.  A Spiritual Director would meet with you regularly to discuss how God is present in your life and what you are doing to respond to God’s presence. If you are a college student, there may be a Newman Center on your campus that can point you in the right direction. Many Oblates serve as Spiritual Directors, just contact us.

Step 3: Talk to others

  • Don’t hide your discernment under a bushel basket! It’s important that you speak to others about your discernment. St. Francis de Sales teaches that God’s Will for us is often revealed in other people, so ask your friends, colleagues, family members what they think.

Step 4: Gather evidence

  • List facts about yourself, including your talents and goals, abilities and limitations. Prayer, your spiritual director, and friends can help you with this.
  • Gather facts about religious life. Explore Oblate life by visiting our communities and apostolates, attending Associate and discernment events and viewing our website.
  • Consider working with the Oblates as a member of the Associate Summer Program.
  • Finally, if you have a question, ask!

Step 5: Be Open

  • Through prayer, spiritual direction, and your friendship with others look at your motivation and what is inspiring you.

Step 6: Time

  • Be patient with yourself and with the Lord.
  • It can take time to discern your vocation – do not rush!
  • If you feel experience a certain feeling of peace when considering Oblate life, then this is a very important positive signs of the divine call.
  • Let some time pass to see if these movements of peace are from yourself (in which case they will go away) or if they are lasting and from the Lord (in which case they may stay, or go away and continually return).

Step 7: Peace

  • chapel-nightIf you experience a certain feeling of peace when considering Oblate life, then this is a very important positive sign of the divine call.
  • Let some time pass to see if these movements of peace are from yourself  (in which case they will go away) or if they are lasting and from the Lord (in which case they may stay, or go away and continually return).

Step 8: Decision

  • Make the most loving and life-giving choice.
  • Choose what you sense is God’s will as best you can understand it.

Step 9: Confirmation

  • After making a decision, give some more time to prayer and wait to see if your peace remains.
  • There should be a continuation of interior tranquility and satisfaction that you have made the best decision.

Click to download Fr. Ken McKenna’s letter about Salesian discernment.