SummaryFinding the call of your vocation is important but often difficult. Jennifer Elia’s simple answer–silence. After all, how else can we hear God’s answer?
Our world is busy and noisy, and so is my home.
Quiet time seems hard to come by with active little boys and constant activity. However, I realize the importance of silence for my children to pursue the path God has designed for them. So, I try hard to provide opportunities for silence.
It does not happen every day, nor even every month, but I make sure it happens at least a few times a year.
Lent is our main time for seeking silence each week. I wish I could do it more often, but remind myself that at least we are doing it.
We all need silence to keep in touch with God and stay focused. Silence is even more important when discerning a vocation. I truly believe that our decline in religious vocations isn’t because God is not calling, it’s just that we are not hearing Him because of the competing noise.
1. God whispers in the heart
God is always speaking; we just need to take the time and space to listen. I have had a couple of experiences in which I actually felt like I heard someone speaking to me. It took my breath away. Most often, though, God’s voice is heard in whispers laid on your heart.
Our world is very noisy. We like to have lots of activity and distractions. Everywhere we go there is music playing, televisions on, and people talking. Getting some quiet can be hard, but it is really necessary. When we take some time to be quiet, our mind and body get a break.
It’s like a mini vacation. In the quiet, our focus can go from our world—of which each of us is the center—to concentrating entirely on God.
2. Time to listen and contemplate
Finding quiet is difficult, but when you do, you also need time to listen and reflect. Often we take those little moments and fill them with prayer requests. We talk to God, but how often do we listen for His response?
Praying for discernment is essential in finding your vocation, but prayer is meant to be a conversation, not a monologue. While intercessory prayer and novenas are important methods of prayer, meditation and stillness must also be a part of our prayer life. It is in stillness that we receive the true answers.
I know this is difficult. Often, I can’t wait for the quiet of adoration or some moments alone, and then my mind is full of distractions even when there are none around me. I think, “I should be praying,” and then force out all the interior noise with the noise of my own voice praying.
It is hard to remember to listen, but make it a point to set time aside to just sit with God and listen for anything He has to say. Then give yourself a bit more time to reflect on what you are being called to do.
3. Reading the Scriptures in silence
The Holy Scripture is alive. It does not matter in what point in history you are living, or how many times you have read a passage, God can speak to you through those ancient texts. Sometimes, we can think that a particular passage has nothing new to offer us because we have read or heard it read at Mass a million times. However, even passages that we know almost by heart have something to offer.
Even with the Living Word of God, we need silence to have God’s message make its way to our heart and head. When reading Scripture, find time and space to read slowly and think about what you are experiencing. First, pray for God to speak to you through the Scriptures.
When you have finished, meditate on the passage and consider what the LORD is telling you through those words at this moment. The same passage can give you completely different messages at different points in your life. Hearing and reading isn’t enough—we need the silence to really listen!
4. Shrines and pilgrimages
While going through a particularly difficult and dark time in my life, several years ago, I was having trouble finding God. I finally designed a pilgrimage of nearby shrines for myself. Sometimes, finding silence in an unfamiliar place can help you to focus and listen.
Also, visiting places that honor saints and martyrs helps to awaken the desire to hear God’s call. This year I intend to focus a bit more on this area for my children.
5. Finding your vocation in adoration
In the Gospels, Jesus commends Mary for “choosing the better part” as she sits at His feet while her sister rushes around the house full of distraction. When we make a holy hour in adoration, we are sitting at Christ’s feet just like Mary did.
Some churches like to fill the void with music or homilies. There are people who do not like quiet adoration because the silence is unsettling and they do not know what to do with it. However, adoration in the quiet of Jesus’ presence is one of the most profound experiences a Catholic can have. Once the clutter in your head has calmed down, and your list of intentions is exhausted, you are left with the LORD, and there He can speak to you directly.
The answers and guidance I have received in my holy hours, especially those in the middle of the night, have been some of the most precious moments of my journey of faith. So, I make it a point to bring my children to adoration every Friday in Lent, as well as Holy Thursday night.
6. The empty church
Do you have a favorite feast, liturgical season, or parish devotion? We all have those times that we look forward more than usual to going to church. My favorite Mass is always Holy Thursday; I think about it all year.
Have you ever thought of going to a church when no one is there and nothing is happening? In the pews of an empty church, it is only you and God. Staring up at the crucifix, your entire attention is on what Christ did for us, for you!
What will you do for Him? How do you see yourself when there is no one looking but Our LORD?
In an empty, silent church you have the space to read, reflect, contemplate, listen, and adore. Worship in a parish doesn’t end with the final blessing of each Mass. When alone, kneel before the LORD and pray, “Here I am, LORD; I come to do Your Will.”
What vocation does God have for you? Where is He calling each of your children? You will never know until you give yourselves the time, space, and silence not only to ask, but listen for His answer.
How do you find silence for yourself and your family?