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Steps to take in discerning your call Print
Guest column
Written by Fr. Gregory Ihm   
Thursday, Nov. 06, 2014 -- 12:00 AM

What is my vocation? Consecrated or not? These questions should arise in everyone’s heart that is truly seeking to live a life of faith, because it means that you see the beauty and dignity in a life totally consecrated to the Lord.

If young people are not asking this question, it should concern us. Then we must ask ourselves: what can I do to help others see the beauty in consecrated life?

Fixing a problem?

Although this question arises in young people desiring to commit their life to a particular vocation, it is a problematic approach to discerning your vocation.

The attitude oftentimes connected to this question is: there is a problem of not knowing my vocation, and I need to fix it or figure it out.

This approach is oftentimes filled with fear and anxiety, because it is focused on what you are feeling or thinking each given moment. A person’s feelings and thoughts, as good intentioned as they might be, vary from day to day, and thus their vocation may waver from day to day.

It turns into an exercise of navel gazing, trying to figure it out or trying to get rid of the thoughts and feelings associated with it.

Steps to discerning a call

A vocation is a calling from God. The Lord comes to meet you and invite you to follow him because he has a plan for you that is for your happiness.

Here are some steps to take in discerning a vocation:

  • The first step in discerning a vocation is making yourself available to encounter Jesus Christ. This encounter happens through participation in the sacraments of the Church, Eucharistic Adoration, Lectio Divina, and the Holy Rosary.
  • The second step is desiring what God desires and giving him permission to lead you.
  • The third step follows from the second and that is to trust the Lord. The Lord wants your happiness and will not ask something of you unless it is for your eternal happiness.

Whatever he is calling you to may seem beyond your understanding or out of your control, thus you need to place your total trust in him. Like any relationship, it takes time to build trust, and your vocation becomes clearer over time as the Lord reveals it to you.

Your vocation is a gift from God to come to know him in a personal and more profound way. He invites us to follow him, learn from him, and then go and serve him while maintaining that intimate relationship with him.


Fr. Gregory Ihm is the director of vocations for the Diocese of Madison. He may be reached at 608-821-3088 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it