Discerning a Call

Each one of you has received a special grace, so, like good stewards responsible for all these different graces of God, put yourselves at the service of others. If you are a speaker, speak in words which seem to come from God, if you are a helper, help as though every action was done at God's orders, so that in everything God may receive the glory, through Jesus Christ, since to him alone belong all the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen (1 Peter 4:10-11).

There is no one without some gift or ministry for God's church and it is the responsibility of each person to discover what this gift or ministry is. To bury it through hesitancy shows a lack of faith and is wrong; for a community to bury a member's gifts is equally wrong. As Peter puts it so pointedly, we are only stewards of God's gifts and must use them for the community and for the Kingdom.

No one should decide he has an apostolic gift without first submitting it to the community. After discerning his gifts he can then be sent by this community on a mission. It is important that each member of a community knows that they are "missioned" by that community. A person's gifts are simply different aspects of the risen Christ in the Church today. They are Christ manifesting his personhood - his freedom to love the world now. Discernment is a process; it takes time, prayer and reflection. So begin where you are. You have already begun the process - you are gathering information and reflecting upon it.

This process is continued through further correspondence, visits, interviews and spiritual direction. It is only after considering your talents, abilities, life experiences and knowledge of us can you make a decision. But don't worry. Your life in Christ has given you this freedom and confidence to choose. We are willing to assist and guide you.

As St. John of God advised, “Keep your trust in Jesus Christ alone, so that you will be consoled by Him. Though at present you are undergoing trials, it is so that, at the end, your consolation and glory will be the greater, if you bear them all for the love of Jesus Christ.” 3rd Letter to Duchess of Sessa.