Blog Discernment by Sister M. Consolata, FSGM It was a day in June, and I found myself in the adoration chapel at St. Francis Convent in Alton, Illinois. I saw the words, “Veni Si Amas” inscribed on the monstrance. Sister said to go and simply love Him. “Come if you love.” Deep down I knew He was tugging on my heart to come. “But Alton, Illinois is nowhere near home.” I was thinking about my family in California and my friends in Minnesota where I was currently living. Have you ever been surprised by what words suddenly come forth as a prayer from the heart? As I sat there with my arms folded, I said, “Jesus, these Sisters are so joyful. But why? Why would they come?” I did not expect that question to arise nor did I expect an answer. Immediately the words “eternal life” came to my mind. “Oh.” I knew that was not from me. “That’s a pretty good reason.” I was only thinking of two things: family and friends. In reality, Jesus was inviting me to give Him everything to gain everything, eternal life. I knew I needed to surrender just a little more. We have all been faced with decisions big and small. Some appear to be all consuming. We keep asking for an answer, but Jesus seems to be silent. What should I do? Persevere in the midst of silence and wait for Jesus to speak. What next? Jesus waits. He waits for our response to Him. How long do you make Him wait? Once He finally says something, do you surrender and accept? Do you trust? Do you question? Do you doubt? Was that really His voice? Do you turn and run away? Or do you place your hands in His and say “yes”? Yes, I will follow you. Are you waiting, looking for a sign? “How do I know?” is a common question asked when discerning a vocation. What do I need to do? What steps do I take? Before Jesus reveals an answer to a persistent asking of “What is my vocation?” He seeks to love you. I often hear women say, “Sister, I don’t want to make the wrong decision.” This statement stems from fear. But once you have encountered the love Jesus has for you and allowed Him to capture your heart you will know love, Himself. Then you can trust the One, who loves you and where He leads. Be not afraid to follow Love Himself. Was I afraid of the unknown? Yes! Then why did I surrender and trust Jesus? I experienced peace only He could give. In His will there is peace. I knew deep down what He was asking of me. I knew I needed to surrender my family to Him before I could say yes to move to the Midwest. As I surrendered in faith, I was filled with peace. This is the “knowing” that each of us seeks. It’s His sign to us that a decision we are accepting is His will. Consistency Jesus is always consistent with how He leads you. As you spend time with Him, you come to know His voice and His way of leading you. How has He led you in the past? It will be the same for your vocation. I wanted the joy that I saw in the Sisters around me. But I also knew that for me, joy always came after I made a decision. When I returned to the convent for the second visit I said yes in faith, experiencing peace after surrendering. Joy did indeed come later! I knew I needed to act even with a fear of the unknown. There came a point when the tug on my heart was so powerful I couldn’t say no: yes was the only answer I could give the Lord. Commitment Are you committed to daily prayer, a sacramental life of the Eucharist (daily Mass if possible), and regular confession, silence, and scripture? Are you willing to make the effort to grow in relationship with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit? Ladies, just think for a moment. If you were dating someone, you would certainly make time to talk, text or spend time with him daily! So, why not Jesus? If you want to hear His voice, you must commit to spending time with Him to learn His voice. Be attentive to Him and receive His love. Following the path marked out for you is what will bring you abundant joy and peace. Be not afraid and trust the One, who loves you more than you can imagine. Be alive on the journey to heaven! Whether you are discerning a religious vocation or a life decision, consider reading True North: A Roadmap for Discernment.