Discernment: God’s search for you

Categories: Around the Diocese,Guest Views

National Vocation Awareness Week • November 2 to 8, 2014

Seeking and finding the Lord’s will is a wonderful adventure of the Christian life. It is the great adventure!

At first it can seem a kind of treasure hunt — Jesus hiding answers to our questions and requiring us to gather clues leading to that “pearl of great price.” In fact, it is our hearts that are the great treasure, and Jesus seeks to unlock them. It is this process of trusting God and giving him our hearts that we call discernment.

This generation seeks a sign

From time to time I receive phone calls like this: “Father, I want to do what God wants in my life. Why won’t he tell me?”

Just as the crowds demanded a sign from Jesus, those discerning his will can be stifled by his apparent silence. Why can’t it be more obvious?


Father Scott Pogatchnik is vocations director for the Diocese of St. Cloud

Here we remind ourselves that God speaks powerfully through the holy Word of God in Scripture and the sacraments of the church. So I ask these young people, “Do you know Jesus’ Beatitudes and his new commandment to love? Do you actively engage in Mass and the healing encounter of reconciliation?”

For the Word of God is living and active, discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart (Hebrews 4:12). A life of active discipleship cleans the window of the soul, helping us discern between right and wrong, between the good and the bad.

Putting on the mind of Christ

But discernment is more than that — choosing between the good and the bad. As we go deeper into a life in Christ, it is about choosing between the good and the best.

Whether it’s discerning a major, a college, a new relationship or their vocation, I suggest the following steps as young people seek God’s best for their lives:

Trust God.

Jesus knows you better than you know yourself. Jesus loves you better than you love yourself. You can trust him.

Daily diligence.

Instead of asking God, “What should I do with my life?” start with, “What should I do with my day?” God speaks to us as we meet the daily responsibilities of our state of life. Running from things doesn’t lead to healthy discernment, nor does running in place. God can’t drive a parked car.

Face to face.

Have I honestly sought to spend time with God today? Psalm 27 or Psalm 139 give words to our desires: “Search me … hide not your face from me!”

St. Paul says to the Romans, “Be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

Ultimately, the fruit of discernment is not about this decision or that, but about putting on the mind of Christ. It is a purified memory and a sanctified imagination that Jesus longs to give us. May all of us be given those gifts as God continues to seek us out.

Father Scott Pogatchnik
Director of Vocations