Listen for God's Call
'Come, Follow me.' It was the Lord Jesus calling us.
— Constitutions of the Congregation of Holy Cross, 1:1
Listening for God’s call is the final movement in the work of discernment. This can often be one of the more frustrating and challenging stages in discernment because waiting takes patience. God’s response is not always quick or obvious. Yet God has a call for you. And throughout history, from the patriarchs of the past to the saints of today, the Lord has made His will known to those who seek it with sincere hearts.
Have faith and trust
God’s call is not a game of hide-and-seek. God wants to reveal your vocation to you, and He will do so. It may not be on your time frame or in the manner you are expecting, yet the call will come in a way that you will recognize it. In the end, it is God’s call and He will reveal it in His time. Be patient and trust that He will lead you.
Don’t just talk, listen
It is not easy to sit in silence. Yet your prayer must include silence so that your heart can rest in God and hear His call. Take time in your prayer to sit quietly and, if possible, do so in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament. Sitting quietly with the Lord allows Him the time to work on your heart and direct it according to His will.
Look for joy and life
Joy is the most infallible sign of the presence of God. The vocation that the Lord calls you to is meant for your good and should draw you into joy and a fullness of life. As you consider your call, pay attention to what brings you joy and life. This joy that you are looking for is not just happiness or ease; often our vocations can be quite challenging. The joy that you are looking for will involve a deep sense of peace and fulfillment.
Seek peace, not certainty
If everyone waited for absolute certainty before making a commitment, no one ever would. Rarely in life do we receive absolute certainty and even if it does come, it can be fleeting. Instead, look for peace in your heart when making decisions. God’s will is our peace. And so an inner peace - even in the midst of lingering uncertainty - will reveal God’s call.
Listen to what others are saying
God can also use other people to help us hear His call. Pay attention to what others see in you and what they encourage you to do. Often others can see abilities and possibilities in us that we ourselves do not see. A reliable indicator of God’s call is when advice and insights from your friends, family, and mentors in faith begin to align with the movements of your heart.
If in your listening it seems that God may be calling you to the religious life or the priesthood, it may be time to contact a vocation director or look for a time to attend a vocation retreat. Although those are the best ways to help deepen your discernment, there are also other discernment aids that can help you hear God's voice as well as address any fears and questions that might be lingering.