Discerning God’s Will

It’s important for people to know what does God want for me in my life here and now, we shall consider discerning God’s will in two categories :

  • God’s will in general
  • Vocations

God’s will in general

if you want to know what God’s will from able to first do you have to recognize is that:

He wants you to fulfill your duties according to your state of life.

So sometimes you get people who think it’s God’s will that they should be a priest or a nun even though they’re married and this is false, so you recognize your obligations as a man or as a woman in that marriage and then you fulfill those duties.

Or some priests think they should get married because they think this is God’s will for them but they should be seeking to fulfill their vows of chastity.

Or a lady who wants to do things like of a priest even though they’re not a priest, that’s not God’s will, God set up a hierarchy in the church with the Pope at the top, bishops, clergy and the laity and the people have to recognize that he wants us to fulfill our duties according to our particular place, we shouldn’t think it’s God’s will that as a layman we should be doing the job of a priest or a bishop.

God’s will for you is that you seek holiness according to your state in life and that you follow his Commandments

no course of action your life can be God’s will if it is sinful period so we have to keep that very clear or it cannot be God’s will if it fails regarding your duties of your state in life for example a woman who wants to work and leave her child at a daycare without a sufficient reason is not doing God’s will okay so those are the general things first follow the precepts that is followed dividing divine positive law and also the natural law which is X located in the Ten Commandments you have to follow those first then you have to fulfill those according to your duties of your state in life so we have to fulfill those and

that applies to everybody and how it applies to each person is different obviously because each person is in a different state but then we can stand back and look at


the finer points of discerning God’s will first we should look at our qualities both physical moral and spiritual and this will point us to what God’s will is with us God endowed each one of us with qualities which indicates what he wants for us sometimes called talents although I don’t particularly care for that word because of what the modern church has made the that word even though it is a legitimate word we see it used even in Scripture but it bothers me of what they’ve made into it

for example, if one is gifted with intelligent saying biology that is biology comes easily to you it may be an indication that God’s will is that one pursuing education and work in the medical field

Different kinds of intelligence are manifested in different people and so one must look at that that is you have to look at what you’re good at intellectually one thing must be cleared however and intelligence indicates it that God does not want all people I should say

God does not make all people equal because he does not want everybody doing the same thing he gives you degrees of perfections based on what his will is for you so some people are simply more intelligent than others some people are simply better at doing other things than others you know for instance some people are just much better at speaking and doing public speaking than others and so even though a person might want to do those if I don’t have the talents or the qualities that suit that then it’s probably not God’s will that I do that unless I can develop them but even then you have to look at the cases fit my duties my state in life does it fit my other perfections and things of this sort

another example would be based upon what our perfections are is that form a strong degree of fortitude if you see guys very manly has a lot of fortitude mine indicated he should have a military career

a woman who is intelligent may be called to help other women homeschool their children or to raise intelligent children for society so she should not presume just because she’s intelligent that it’s her place to go out and be a scientist and leave her kids at home it could be quite the opposite it could be that God wants to use her intelligence to raise very intelligent children so that they can go out and affect the world

disposition plays a large part of our discernment for example if one is not disposed towards mechanical work for instance they just don’t do it it doesn’t fit me it’s I find it difficult they don’t like it then become a mechanical engineer or an auto mechanic is probably not God’s will for you so you look at the dispositions and the disposition is a kind of equality of arms so some people just have a greater disposition towards some things than others and you should develop your your what you do in life based upon what dispositions you have

of course even that needs a bit of a qualification because sometimes people have a disposition towards evil things and you have to be careful that you don’t do those things obviously it’s not God’s will that you do evil but you have to look at your dispositions and qualities and see what God’s inclining towards by those things that he gives because God chooses our dispositions and our qualities and what we written down with


the next thing we should look at is our serf stances each person finds himself in a different set of circumstances and God is ultimately the one who chooses the circumstances in which you find yourself even though we have some degree of free choice it’s ultimately up to God to turn to determine what circumstances you have in life these circumstances of life indicate what God’s will is specifically for us so when you consider this for you to do based upon where he planted you so to speak in other words you do you look at the circumstances that is where you are sitting in life where you’re at in life you know who you’re with the location you’re in and things like that and then sometimes that indicates to you what you should do for example making money is often a matter of being at the right place at the right time some people can slip in cow manure and come out with 50 dollar bills in their hand and so you see this kind of thing with certain people this is not only a matter of talent but also an ability to read circumstances so you have to look into circumstances if you’re in a set of circumstances which clearly indicates that you could make a lot of money then you should do that you know not pursuing it for the wrong reasons but pursuing it because it’s an exercise of a god-given talent

prudence is the virtuous helps one to understand circumstances so one must pray for prudence and a prudent Lea to develop the ability to read circumstances some people just can’t read them and sometimes it’s good to go and talk to others about their your circumstances alike to get a kind of a general feel for what they think that you might be in club called to by God

some people are in circumstances which make it easy for them to make other money while others may be in circumstances we’re taking over the family business is more suited to their state and location in other words sometimes God intends that we actually go and take care of the family business because it has a significant contribution to our community that we live in or even to the church in general are things of this sort even though you may not make a lot of money

it’s not God’s will that everybody be rich but it is God’s will that everybody looked at their circumstances in life find out what his will is by looking at those and then do what seems to fit the circumstances

circumstances determine our opportunities and God determines our opportunities and what he wants just by controlling our circumstances and this is very important because this requires a certain degree of detachment on our partner certain Bannerman to God’s providence based upon what he wants according to our certain what he manifests what he wants for us based upon our circumstances

married people often wonder why if they should take them they should make a move to take advantage of a financial opportunity and this is a legitimate question but to discern this a person first has to look for instance particularly coming on the husband and also the wife and the children should also be considering these matters too but discernment of when a person should make a move like Francis shall move across the country approved by family moving across a country

Spiritual welfare

the first thing you have to do you discern now is discern the spiritual welfare of all that is involved the spiritual welfare of people is the top priority for example if uprooting a family and moving across the country is not going to improve your income significantly then perhaps the spiritual disadvantage of doing so are not justified since you may be separated from extended family members that may be beneficial to having around that you may be beneficial to having around your children such as holy grandparents or other brothers and sisters it might be holy

on the other hand if uprooting your family moving across country will make it possible for your wife to stay home with your kids because you’re going to be making more money then God may be providing an opportunity for you to live a family and a family life more in accordance with his will so you have to look at how is this going to fix spiritually how’s it going to is it going to help us do it to live our roles in life it is a husband and father and wife and mother and things of this sort so you have to look at your circumstances and when you discern in the move

you have to look at the circumstances I’m going to or the circumstances I’m going to going to provide a better opportunity for us spiritually that’s the first thing then this monetary or the material considerations are purely secondary to that

Specific Grace’s from God

another thing that you would look forward to certainly what God’s will is for you specifically is you have to look at specific Grace’s which God gives you because God gives each person different graces some of its based upon the circumstance in life and so when he sees that you’re in a set of circumstances he gives you Grace’s to fulfill what he wants for you in no circumstances but sometimes the specific raise up even transcend circumstances God gives some people grace is simply to do more things more than others and that’s something we have to accept that not only is there a hierarchy of accidents like for instance

some people are more intelligent than others some people are more talented in making money than others the fact of the matter is is that God gives different races because there’s a hierarchy of grace that is God intends when they all get to heaven to take a different place in heaven based upon how much grace we have in so he gives you specific Grace’s to attain that level

one example would be if I if I know more for example I know of more than one family it was particularly raised as a family member some families just received more Grace’s to lead a more family life more in chord with God’s will but so part of the will of God for their lives is to direct other young families and the practicalities of raising a good Catholic family to raise good Catholic children and to lead good marriages and so it’s clear some families just received more grace than others some receive more grace but they don’t respond to the graces that is they’re not faithful to those graces and so they’re actually kind of an example of what not to be like others may not receive those Grace’s but they might receive other kinds of Grace’s so for instance the family life might not be is graced in one case but the children have more grace to pursue other kinds of of life so for instance even though the family life maybe that just organized or things like that nevertheless the kids receive graces of occasions or things like this normally these things go hand in hand you know grace is delete a good family life and raise a vocation normally go hand in hand but sometimes they don’t then we also have what’s called an inclination of grace that is God inclines us through actual Grace’s to pursue specific things for example sometimes receive the inclinations of grace to pray perhaps God’s intention for your families to be a family more of prayer than social action so I looked at the circumstances of my family and I look at the talents were more some families may be more talented in the social area than others and so God may be given graces for some families that are maybe less socially inclined and less socially talented but at the same time they’re much more inclined towards a contempt of life and maybe that’s what God’s inclining them towards

Likes and Dislikes

another thing that we can look at is our likes and dislikes so this is someone based on a disposition because however disposed towards kind of indicates what we kind of like but not entirely sometimes what we like is not necessarily based upon disposition that we also have to remember that sometimes we like things that are immoral well or bad for us spiritually but those aren’t what we should think of God’s will for us when a person is holy his likes and dislikes are governed more by virtue and by God’s grace and so one can be inclined by God to do something based upon whether they this person likes it or not but this is not an ironclad rule due to the duties according to one state in life which may require that you do things you don’t like and sinful desires have to keep you kept and checked as I mentioned so but

Holier you are

what this means is the whole you are the more you want to fulfill God’s duty according your state in life and so the grace is that you get when climbing towards doing those things and even the Grace’s can kind of incline us to like certain things and so again with this do caution in discerning these things likes and dislikes can actually indicate to us what God’s will is for us

The process

discerning God’s will consists in sitting down looking at yourself your qualities dispositions the circumstances of your life the inclinations our grace their likes and dislikes you have to look at the particularity that you find yourself in that you find in yourself and then that gives you an indication of what God intends for you again

because every all of you is obviously when you take all these things into consideration God’s will for each individual person is very different and so you have to look at those things


the next thing you can do to discern your God’s will for you is pray you cannot hear God telling you what to do if you’re not listening to him and that only comes through prayer

you can also pray to the Holy Ghost for the gift of counsel which is particular important because the gift of counsel is the gift of the Holy Ghost which disposes us to being promptly moved by God in knowing in discerning what we should do in specific circumstances you should pray for God’s counsel it is the gift of counsel so that when it comes time for us to discern what as well as we can be easily moved by him to discern what we should do and to pray for this

we should use prayer manuals which have prayers for the gift of counsel and also that have prayers for the discerning of God’s will formal prayers sometimes is good because it helps us to formulate ways formulate our prayers and ways which will specifically indicate to God what we need sometimes people say I feel better

if I pray on my own low sometimes a prayer our own isn’t formulated as well and so when we ask God it’s not done in a way that is better that it could help us.


you should also take kalt’s from those so another way that you can discern God’s oils by taking counsel from those who can give you solid principles to follow in other words God wants us all to lead a principled life and so when we look at a prudent man or when we look at people who are lead a life of principle sometimes we can go to them and ask them you know how would you sort this out because then they can think according to principle inserting out our particularity in life and sometimes they can indicate to us what those principles are so that we can apply them some

like for instance going to priests or other than altar people who will help you discern these matters according to supernatural principles most principally if you’ll excuse the pun there but

you have to look at the supernatural principles more than others so this is and by supernatural principles we mean you know God’s will the Ten Commandments fulfilling our duties of state and life inclinations of grace those are principles which we should use in order to know what God’s will is for us

avoid the guy who sets up his own shingle trying to attract people or to free with advice because the guy who sets up a shingle is not necessarily very discreet and discretion is a very important part of of prudence from those who have not done the same thing that you are contemplating don’t ask their advice but

ask the people who have done the same thing that you have done whose up if you think you might want to be an astronaut then go ask an astronaut for advice about the particulars of the life of an astronaut then you can see whether it suits you but if somebody’s never done anything and they don’t know anything about it well don’t ask them unless again they’re very principled they might be able to give you some principles but you go to the guy who leads that kind of a life that seems to suit you what you might think God’s will is for you and then by talking to him then you can get a very concrete understanding of what the life involves and then you can see whether it fits you or not ok so that’s what you use to discern God’s will in general


so then we come to the discernment of a vocation first we have to clear up a modern misunderstanding and it has to do with the idea of a vocation marriage is not vocation and neither is the single life the term vocation comes from the latin word bukhara which means to call and it refers specifically to the time during the Rite of ordination in which a bishop calls those who could be ordained to orders and that’s where we get to work vocation from so vocation does not strictly refer to marriage or to us the single life now

it’s true that God may have a specific will that you get married or that you lead a single life but that has to be understood properly in the right shape to the single life which we’ll see a little bit later

but God has a specific will for you and but that’s not the same thing as a vocation people tend to use God’s will and vocation interchangeably and I think it’s better to keep these things clearer ok so

signs of a true vocation that is to the merit to the to the religious life or the priesthood or something of this sort so what do you know one who signs the vocation first

you can’t have any canonical impediments for example if you’re notorious Center already married then you cannot be a priest and you have to be physically fit these are canonical requirements if you don’t have if you don’t have if you’re married then it’s God’s will that you’re not to be appraised and if you can’t if you’re not physically fit then you can’t lead the life the August life of priests so it’s not God’s will for you and the same applies for people who go into the convent if you’re not physically fit well you can’t go into a convent and burden the other women there who are trying to lead a holy large next you must have those things which are necessary to lead a life of a vocation and the first is intelligence no idiots need apply this also applies to some vocations such as certain kinds of brothers for example teaching orders or to nuns for example Carmelites requires certain intelligence in order to be part of them but some religious orders can take brothers of lower intelligence but not to the priesthood which requires intelligence despite what you might have seen recently in church among some priests and bishops but you have to have a certain amount of intelligence because people going to ask you questions that are difficult if you can’t think your way through it then it’s a problem you also have to have the proper moral qualities no one should consider entering the priesthood or religious life who has a grave moral defect so or whether it’s something like homosexuality or the solitary sin pride or ambition or theft you know a person can’t keep his hands off things these are grave moral defects and you don’t have any business entering into the priesthood with these types of grave defects particularly homosexuality if you’re going to be a priest because to be a priest means you have to be a spiritual father well homosexuals don’t understand what proper fatherhood is because they don’t understand what masculinity has and so as a result it cannot be priests you should also have the proper spiritual qualities that is for example a spirit of Prayer spirit of self-denial and mortification if you don’t have these things it may not be a sign that you’re called this although it on the other hand maybe you might have a location and just mean you’re gonna have to develop these things but if you don’t have any ability to develop these are just a fine advancement spiritual life abhorrent to you that maybe you don’t have the vocation as for leading a religious life – you also have to have an ability to lead a celibate life you have to have an ability to be pure if you can’t be celibate well didn’t don’t enter the religious life the st. Paul says it’s better to marry them burn don’t become a priest and then burn because then you’re going to end up with all sorts of problems the Osia should have a spirit of obedience as governed by prudence now here we’re not talking about mindless obedience which just does whatever everybody tells them but a Prudential obedience in which one recognize I should do that for my spiritual benefit and the person does that he can’t be obedient how can you fulfill the vow of obedience if you can’t be chaste how can you fulfill the valve chastity and this is why people who are called to the religious life have to have these abilities to lead these things because if they can’t they can’t fulfill the vow and that’s not God’s will at all obviously a scene in Quang Nam it is you simply have to have organic scene nobody should enter the religious life was a heretic heretics do not have vocations it’s that simple now here we’re not it so keep that in mind next you should have a desire to do with the specific vocation calls for for instance if you want to be a priest you should have a desire to offer Mass reverently to hear confessions to anoint people to give spiritual direction and things of this sort if you don’t want to do these things then don’t become a priest as for religious whether male or female you should have a desire to engage in the apostolate of the order without wanting to change it yourself and that’s an important point because you get all sorts of people who come into religious orders and say well yeah I’m here but when I become a priest I want to do acts which has nothing to do with what the particular postulate of the religious order is so people have to be very careful about that you should also have the necessary qualities to be engaged in the apostolate for example if a person who for example who finds camping out in a trailer arduous is not called to be a missionary in the bush each order has a specific terrorism and one should look at the various orders to see which fits your inclinations of grace known through interior peace and desire to do the apostolate for no other reason than for God so in other words I’m trying to figure out what God’s will is for me I go I look at their positive if there’s a kind of a peace and considering myself and that the net can be a sign or have a desire to do that that can be a sign and I should also do it not for ambitious reasons or to make myself looked at but for know the reason to do it for God so our desires cannot be based on ambition worldly gain human respect but must be authentic sincere and supernatural have to come from God a natural motive the kate motivation is not enough the difficulties of life and religious in religion for a girl are considerable she sacrifices her desire for motherhood is likely to lead a life of relative seclusion and we re ruled by members of our own gender if you cannot have more than you know there is a particular principle that they have you cannot have more than one woman at a house and this applies to women who enter the religious life she is unlikely if she can’t live with others in common that other women in common which only comes through grace then she’s going to find religious life very difficult it’s only if a woman can lead a life according to grace that his grace overcomes the inclinations of nature in a sense in the sense that it perfects them so that a woman can live in common with other women if she doesn’t have that ability to seek supernatural inclinations but she has these but she follows the disordered inclinations of original sin and therefore can’t live in common with other women she can’t enter the religious life for women to live in common is Mars principally a matter of grace than human nature but this also applies to men as well insofar as one is not called to religious order if he or she cannot live in a community peacefully with others it’s that simple and that’s why when you discern you know when a man comes to the seminary you have to look at him and see you know just doesn’t fit us it’s more charitable let him go than to feel bad because you’re letting him down no it’s charitable letting go to pursue what is really God’s will for man it is generally easier for them to live together but they must manifest a clear ability to be celibate which is often lacking in men at the ages in which they should be discerning God’s will so men and women have different difficulties when they have to discern when they’re going into religious wars and they have to look at those honestly and sincerely okay so those are the things you look for in a religious vocation what about the single state well as I mentioned this is not a vocation but neither is marriage but that does not mean that for a particular individual it is not God’s will in other words God’s will generally according to the now is

Single life

God’s will generally according to natural law and the order of grace is that everyone either become comes priests and religious that is the order of grace where they marry which is the order of the natural law whoever it is possible that God does not intend for a specific individual to marry or to become a priest or religious one should always assume that the general rule applies to you energy show is assume that it’s God’s will that if I’m not gonna become a priest that I should get married unless the following things apply sometimes circumstances in life make it clear that God’s will is that one should not marry or become a priest or religious so

in other words you may never find a proper spouse or the circumstances your obligations according to your circumstances may not allow you to be free to be married being single is not always a sign that you should get married but it often is sometimes being single is a sign that if you’ve been single for a while then it’s a sign that once you become a religious although not always although today this is difficult because there are so few religious communities which make circumstance of being single more widespread in other words there’s people that should have been entering religious worlds but they didn’t because they were so dysfunctional and because they didn’t really have the graces for marriage in the circumstances for marriage they never not married so they’re kind of out in limbo so to speak and the single state one should do is st. Paul counseled widows they should devote themselves to unceasing prayer fulfill their duties in life a the church with their time in ways that are suited to the lay state

in other words they should help the church that doesn’t mean they become extraordinary minister in the Eucharist what it means is that they help the church according to their state in ways that are suited to the laity and so in other words they dedicate themselves to a life of service even though they’re not going to do it in a formal structured religious order they should devote themselves towards the life of virtue and spiritual perfection that’s what God wills for them and so if they don’t get married if they don’t in religious life they should be trying to advance a pole and it’s just like everyone else but according to their state of life and because they have more time that can dedicate more time to it so when you’re deserting God’s will make sure you do it on supernatural principles more more so than natural principles and if you follow these things which we have talked about today and if you were praying and you’re sincere and you’re honest with God and you really want to do is will well it may not be clear always exactly where these inclining towards he’ll make sure that you do is will in the end

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