Discerning a vocation in the modern era

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People wondering if they have a vocation to the priestly or consecrated life, as a religious or consecrated lay person, have been handed a new arsenal of tools for their discernment with the launch of the Vocation Centre’s new website.

And men interested in the priesthood are also invited to dinner with the Archbishop of Sydney, Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP, on the evening of Tuesday, 6 October.

The website says: “Discerning your vocation is not about choosing something you will do for life but about discovering who you are made to be, discovering your deepest identity.

Vocation site

“It is more than an intellectual weighing up of options, or applying a technique to find an answer. Discernment is a process of becoming aware of what’s in our hearts and minds, listening to God, gaining clarity and making a choice.”

The site urges the discerning person to seek out the help and expertise of others in its “10 steps for discerning or deciding”, exhorting them to seek out a spiritual director, to “cultivate your own freedom”, and to make contact with the diocesan vocation director, Fr Epeli Qimaqima (pictured).

It also features a list of “stumbling blocks to discernment”, including “a false idea of freedom”, “an inordinate focus on the self”, “too much noise” and a “lack of freedom”.

The site singles out pornography as having a deleterious effect on vocations, saying that it “can rob us of our vocation … There are many serious problems with pornography. One of these is that pornography is inherently addictive. It limits our freedom to listen and respond to God”, the site says, pointing people to helpful websites such as the Porn Effect (theporneffect.com) and Fight the New Drug (fightthenewdrug.org).

The Vocation Centre’s site also includes an extensive list of events and retreats for people, including the upcoming dinner with the Archbishop for men thinking about the priesthood on 6 October at St Mary’s Cathedral House (retreats for women and men were held in August and earlier this month, respectively) and 40 Hours of Eucharistic adoration for vocation on 9-11 October.