Vocation Discernment

“Those who let themselves be seized by this love cannot help but abandon everything to follow him”  (Pope John Paul II).

As a young woman Saint Jeanne Jugan felt herself seized by Divine Love. She realized that God had a plan for her, and yet for many years she had no idea where he was leading her. She confided to her mother, “God wants me for himself. He is keeping me for a work which is not yet founded.”  Years went by before Jeanne saw the unfolding of God’s plan. If she were here today, Jeanne would offer this advice to anyone discerning their vocation:

  • Pray often, asking God to reveal his will and to help you know yourself better.
  • Find a church or chapel that has Eucharistic adoration and set aside time each week for silent adoration.
  • Live a sacramental life: attend daily Mass whenever possible and take advantage of the sacrament of Reconciliation.
  • Set aside time to read Scripture and other good spiritual books such as the lives of the saints, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, classics of the spiritual life, etc.
  • Seek the guidance of a spiritual director who has a good understanding of the consecrated life, or of a religious sister.
  • Attend retreats or days of prayer, especially in a religious community.
  • Visit a religious community.
  • Commit yourself to some form of volunteer service to God’s people, especially the poor.
  • Choose to spend time with friends who are also serious about their faith, and who will support your desire to grow spiritually.



The Gospel tells us that in the midst of this challenging journey we are not alone. Like the first ray of dawn in the heart of the night, the Lord comes walking on the troubled waters to join the disciples; he invites Peter to come to him on the waves, saves him when he sees him sinking and, once in the boat, makes the winds die down.

The first word of vocation is gratitude. Taking the right course is not something we do on our own, nor does it depend solely on the road we choose to travel. How we find fulfilment in life is more than a decision we make as isolated individuals; above all else, it is a response to a call from on high. The Lord points out our destination on the opposite shore and he grants us the courage to board the boat. In calling us, he becomes our helmsman; he accompanies and guides us; he prevents us from running aground on the shoals of indecision and even enables us to walk on surging waters.

Every vocation is born of that gaze of love with which the Lord came to meet us, perhaps even at a time when our boat was being battered by the storm. “Vocation, more than our own choice, is a response to the Lord’s unmerited call” (Letter to Priests, 4 August 2019). We will succeed in discovering and embracing our vocation once we open our hearts in gratitude and perceive the passage of God in our lives…

Even amid the storm-tossed waters, our lives become open to praise. it is an invitation to cultivate the interior disposition of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Grateful that Lord gazed upon her, faithful amid fear and turmoil, she courageously embraced her vocation and made of her life an eternal song of praise to the Lord.


Rome, Saint John Lateran, 8 March 2020, the Second Sunday of Lent