DISCERNMENT ARTICLES

Wait and see

@ET-DC@eyJkeW5hbWljIjp0cnVlLCJjb250ZW50Ijoic2l0ZV90aXRsZSIsInNldHRpbmdzIjp7ImJlZm9yZSI6IiIsImFmdGVyIjoiIn19@

“…if this endeavor or this activity is of human origin, it will destroy itself. But if it comes from God, you will not be able to stop it.” (Acts 5:38-39)

In the first chapter of John’s Gospel, we read about Jesus inviting two of his disciples to “Come and see.” Bl. Teresa of Calcutta, when asked by people how they could help her, would often respond “Come and see.” This phrase is used commonly now to refer to an immersion experience of discernment, whether it’s a short visit or an extended period of active discernment. But are you familiar with the “Wait and See” experience? It means to take the next step, then wait for God to lead you further.

Obviously, if you’re committed to a diligent discernment, you are living a moral life, making sure you are applying yourself to prayer and study of the Faith, being active in some sort of apostolate, and meeting regularly with a competent spiritual director, if possible. For some, God makes His will known through these things alone. But sometimes they do not result in a clear answer, and you may be left with the same (or even more!) uncertainty about where God is calling you to go with your life. In this case, God may be prompting you to take another step and “jump into the water.”

Take Kevin, for example. A couple of years ago, he realized that God seemed to be calling him to discern the priesthood. He became more active in his parish, began reading about the Faith, praying every day, and his life is generally focused on discerning his vocation very strongly. For a year, he’s been in contact with the vocation director. However, God hasn’t given him a clear indication of what to do next. His spiritual director encouraged him to apply for the seminary, and then wait to see what direction God gives him.

God doesn’t always give an obvious answer. He may want you to show Him you’re willing to trust by handing over your insecurities and delving into a more radical discernment. Taking a leap and doing a “Come and See” in the form of active formation (e.g. a house of studies program, seminary, or postulancy) shows God that you’re really willing to take the next step, and are ready to openly listen to His prompting.

Once you take this leap, it’s crucial to be prepared to “Wait and See” what God wants to do with you next. If you’re faithfully living the “Come and See”, He will show you whether it is His will that you continue; and if it is not His will, He will show you the path that He wants you to take next.

Often, when you’re doing what God wants, He remains quiet about it. It’s easy in this situation to assume that, if God isn’t blasting the trumpets and saying “you’re doing great, continue on this path,” He’s indicating a change of direction. But the important principle of the “Wait and See” is that, unless you’re given a clear indication to change direction, you should continue what you’re doing.

What’s nice about this approach is that you don’t have to worry about discovering or making a decision regarding your vocation. God does the work, either directly in your heart (sometimes it will be painfully obvious that you don’t fit in the formation program), or by external circumstances (maybe your formation director says it’s just not a good fit). There is no need for fretting over “figuring it out.” You just have to be faithful and patient until He speaks clearly.