Remember to check Pope Francis’ Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation on this link at the Vatican site. We’ve got four paragraphs on “Discerning your vocation.” Here are the last two of those:
285. When seeking to discern our own vocation, there are certain questions we ought to ask. We should not start with wondering where we could make more money, or achieve greater recognition and social status. Nor even by asking what kind of work would be most pleasing to us. If we are not to go astray, we need a different starting point.
These, of course, are questions the world would ask, many of its leaders and celebrities. Here are Ignatian queries:
We need to ask:
- Do I know myself, quite apart from my illusions and emotions?
- Do I know what brings joy or sorrow to my heart?
- What are my strengths and weaknesses?
These questions immediately give rise to others:
- How can I serve people better and prove most helpful to our world and to the Church?
- What is my real place in this world?
- What can I offer to society?
Even more realistic questions then follow:
- Do I have the abilities needed to offer this kind of service?
- Could I develop those abilities?
The richest life is focused on the ways Jesus lived, in service to others. If a person is to move on from a basis of her or his abilities and qualities, and into charisms, then it will need to be in reference to other people. Those others will help direct and guide how one serves. And of course, interaction with those in need of a particular set of charisms which may be offered.
286. These questions should be centered less on ourselves and our own inclinations, but on others, so that our discernment leads us to see our life in relation to their lives. That is why I would remind you of the most important question of all. “So often in life, we waste time asking ourselves: ‘Who am I?’ You can keep asking, ‘Who am I?’ for the rest of your lives. But the real question is: ‘For whom am I?’”.[Address of Pope Francis at the Prayer Vigil in Preparation for the XXXIV World Youth Day, Papal Basilica of Saint Mary Major (8 April 2017): AAS 109 (2017), 447] Of course, you are for God. But he has decided that you should also be for others, and he has given you many qualities, inclinations, gifts and charisms that are not for you, but to share with those around you.
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