Christ calling Peter to come to him
Searching for Clarity in Vocational Discernment | Fr. Bryce Sibley | HPR
The call of the Lord usually comes to us in a more subtle and indirect manner … left up to us, with the assistance of divine grace, to discern whether we are being called to the priesthood or consecrated life.
When a soldier receives his military assignment, it’s clearly spelled out—what his duties are, who his superiors will be, where he is to report. There is no mystery, and no need for guessing; every soldier is clear on his mission, and the commander’s intent. His safety, and the safety of others, demands such clarity. Although, in this life, we are engaged in spiritual warfare, and we call the Church on earth the “Church Militant,” believers cannot expect the same clarity when it comes to knowing if they are called to the priesthood or the consecrated life.
Many of the predominant figures in Sacred Scripture have been blessed with great clarity when discerning their vocation because God chose to speak to them in a direct and, often, very startling manner. The Lord spoke to Moses from the burning bush. The archangel Gabriel appeared to Mary and told her that she would be the Mother of the Messiah. St. Paul encountered the Risen Lord on the road to Damascus. These dramatic encounters changed the direction of their lives, leaving them with a concrete certainty of the Lord’s call.
However, for the majority of humanity, the divine prerogative has ordained that individual vocations normally be revealed less explicitly. Rarely does the Lord’s voice bellow from a thunderhead, or does Christ appear in his risen majesty to reveal his will to us. Instead, the call of the Lord usually comes to us in a more subtle and indirect manner. It is then left up to us, with the assistance of divine grace, to discern whether we are being called to the priesthood or consecrated life.
This can be especially frustrating for many people discerning a potential vocation because they seem to be searching for an absolute certainty that they are called before they are willing to follow or act upon it.