The discernment of vocations signifies this: help the person to understand not more about “what to do” but rather how to place oneself before God; to better understand what the Lord wills. The requirements of those who are in charge of helping with discernment are a profound knowledge of the church, a solid theological principle, and an adequate knowledge of human science, which is illuminated with prudence.
Spiritual and Moral Discernment
The goal of the spiritual and moral discernment is to help the persons to strengthen or to consolidate their option for life, free them from an unstable mentality, and from seeking a temporary solution. This signifies to turn one’s attention to God. Cardinal Newman said: “To grow means to change, and being perfect signifies being changed frequently”.
A religious vocation implies then the gradual construction of a person’s relationship with God, with Christ and with company. It will come only from the heart of a person who seeks and believes it’s unworthy gift of faith. This is one aspect that is a very important part of renunciation. In the context of the real world today, it’s very difficult to choose God above other calls.
All the followers of Christ are called to the fullness of Christian life and to perfect charity. The common dimensions of every vocation indicate (point) the necessary fundamental motivation to construct a valid project of life. Through the process of discernment, the persons will be prepared to choose the proper vocation. The fundamental motivations that should inspire the project of life for persons in discernment are for the edification of the Kingdom of God here on earth and to share the divine and human life that they received to becoming Saints. The persons must turn to Christ, who is the Master of life and of wisdom, to learn from Him the fundamental values. The person discovers gradually that this value is a person of Christ. This vision of vocation should help the persons in discernment restructure the personality of their life.
Obstacles to Discernment
There are two types of obstacles that could prevent one from finding their vocation; first, the person is allowed to be seduced from a character that is not suited or proper to the religious life, lacking in sufficient knowledge from one’s own capability. Second is the absence or privation of sufficient moral strength. This makes a person incapable of surrendering to the providence of God, which comes from one’s own character or from the social influence.
The best way to hear the voice of God is in the silence. The Bible tells us that the language God prefers is silence. God whispers. To hear His voice we must be quiet, to let Him talk.
The Primary Vocation
Our first vocation is not to priesthood, religious life, marriage, lay ecclesial ministry…etc. Our primary vocation is to know Jesus. The Holy Spirit is the director who plants the grace of a vocation in each person’s heart. “Christ” wants you! The Church needs you! God’s people need you. The Holy Spirit relies on the help of other people to encourage and promote vocations.
Do not be afraid to open your heart and your mind to the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, which will guide you on the right path for the realization of the vocation that God has planted in your heart. “ Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I dedicated you, a prophet to the nations I appointed you.” Jer. 1:5
If you feel like the Lord may be calling you to the priesthood or the religious life, you are encouraged to talk to a priest.
Taken from vocation.com (real original I know). But good for the parents section.
Q. How can I encourage vocations among my children?
A. In educating your children to be open to God, it is important that they see your example. They will absorb your priorities in the thousand ways you reflect them during your day, and most probably they will in time make them their own.
So, be what you are supposed to be. Without being artificial about it, let them see you pray, teach them to pray, teach them the example of Jesus, teach them about Mary, and relate it to their lives. Direct and encourage everything that is good. Correct what is wrong. Weather their tantrums and stay fast and teach. Help them to grow, according to their age, in their relationship with God and knowledge of their faith. Challenge them appropriately. Lives of the saints are a great source of inspiration for children (and not only for children!). What you are really doing is preparing the ground so that at the moment God begins to give them a hint of what he has in mind for them, they will be able to recognize it and be in dispositions to respond, have principles of faith to guide them, love to move them, and strength of character to be able to do what might be difficult.
As regards the vocation directly, do not push it on them, but do not be silent, either. Answer questions, at times bring them up yourself, and raise the possibility. It seems to me that what you are doing will be helpful to them.
Top 10 Ways to Foster Vocations
Be sure to frequent the sacraments. Weekly reception of the Eucharist and regular confessions help unite the family with God and with one another.
Answer your children’s questions about priesthood or religious life; never discourage them or ridicule them if they bring it up
Baptism. Celebrate each one’s Baptism Day as well as birthday – and yours too. Build family traditions around the celebration… a specially decorated Baptism Candle that you light for the occasion with a special prayer…, displaying photos of their baptism.., writing a card or saying a prayer for the priest who baptized them….
Catechism. Teach, explain, challenge and have them memorize. Always connect it with life. Challenge your teenagers with Church History and Apologetics. Make them proud of their faith, give them answers, encourage discussion.
Generosity. Lead by example and teach your children to repay God’s gifts by loving others and being generous to others as Jesus is with us.
Join together in prayer as a family; include a short vocations prayer when you pray before meals.
Encourage your children to be involved in the liturgical and social life of the parish as servers, lectors, musicians, youth groups etc.
Matrimony. Your marriage is one of the greatest keys to your children’s individual vocations. Share with them the story of your own vocation, especially on your wedding anniversary, how you met, how you “knew”, how you made your decision and the importance of faith in your life, all that you have to be thankful for.
Patron saint. Help your children grow in their knowledge and devotion to their patron saint. The saints come from all walks of life and made a positive difference in the world–a goal as real today as it was in their time.
Pray for the seminarians of your diocese by name (you can get their names, bios, and birthdays from the diocesan website. You can even “spiritually adopt” one of them.