Thursday, February 23, 2012
Lent and Vocation Discernment
A few thoughts for the beginning of Lent.
I have always found Lent to be a very fruitful time for Vocation Discernment.
I think it was because since I was a small child the high point of Easter for me was Holy Saturday night when, having intensely lived all that God had done for us in Christ (during the Triduum) I renewed my Baptismal Promises. I think part of the attraction was that it was a real, public, solemn, formal commitment to God that I could make before I was old enough to make my First Communion. So I always saw Lent as a time to prepare to make this re-commitment. To examine my life and see where I was failing to live as a Christian; to give more time to God (prayer, ‘holy’ reading, daily Mass etc.) and also to do things for others – Jesus said [Mt.25:40] “Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me”. This meant that my renewal of Baptismal Promises would not be just words but something I was living. Lent showed that I was serious about what I was saying, and of course it was meant to expand out to the rest of the year. But it is good to have that set time to stop and take track and re-centre my life on God.
I think this 'way of doing Lent' really helped my Discernment during the years when I was discerning my Vocation. Since every Lent was a preparation for a solemn re-commitment and inherant in that commitment was my determination to do God's will, whatever it was. So not only was I spending more time with the Lord (prayer, Adoration, Mass), which is vital for Vocation Discernment, but that time was being spent as a preparation for making a commitment and God responded by showing me more and more clearly with each Lent where this commitment was to lead me. Most of my major 'breakthroughs' regarding where God was calling me occured during Lent e.g. realising I was called to be an Enclosed Contemplative, when I had been planning to become an Apostolic Sister. Even now that I'm a Sister, Lent is always a very fruitful time for those extra little 'nudges' that God gives (I'm sure he gives them often but during Lent I'm finally back in 'listening mode'). So for those of you who are discerning your Vocation, embrace Lent this year as a particularly graced period for discernment!