Ask the Question
We asked how we might follow, and we found many footprints on the road. A great band of men had passed this way, men who had made and lived by their vows, men who had walked side by side in their following of the Lord.
— Constitutions of the Congregation of Holy Cross, 1:5
Once we have begun the work of preparing our hearts, the next step is to ask the right question. Often we desire to know the answer but forget to slow down long enough to ask the question or even consider what the question is. As we look to the future there may be a multitude of questions swirling around. Discernment requires that we be deliberate about the questions we ask and how we ask them.
Ask for the desire for the answer
Asking God a question is one thing. Being open to the answer is another. While knowing God’s will may seem desirable, often when it is revealed it is intimidating or unsettling. Begin by asking for the desire to receive the answer, so that when it comes you might embrace it.
Ask the right question
Rarely does God give a complete vision of what the rest of your life will look like. More often He shows the next step and invites us to take it. The question to ask is not if God is calling you to be a religious or priest, but rather if God is calling you to enter formation. The commitment of entering the seminary then is akin, not to the commitment of getting married, but to that of dating. It is a commitment to discern intentionally what might grow into a life-long commitment.
Ask only one question
We can only discern one path at a time. It is hard enough to hear God say yes to a single question, let alone to hear His response to a multiple-choice question. Focus on and pray about one path at a time.
After asking the question, it becomes time to listen for God’s call.