If your answer is quick, clear, and certain, and accompanied by an abiding sense of peace, joy, and fulfillment, then this article will probably not be useful for you. For others, read on.
Scripture clearly demonstrates God-given mission for the Old Testament prophets, King David, the apostles, the Blessed Mother, Saint Joseph, Saint John the Baptist, the rich young man (see Matthew 19:16-22), Saint Paul, and Jesus Christ himself. We are no different.
People are sent on mission by God; this is why we are born into earthly life. People are also prepared for mission by God via innate talents, life experiences and skills/lessons learned, relationships healthy and unhealthy, and the practice of virtue.
Our true mission will resemble and implement one or more of the corporal and/or spiritual works of mercy. We do not choose or define it for ourselves; we receive it from God, though we are usually unaware of it. Therefore, most of us first have to actively discern it so that God will reveal it, then we decide to accept or decline it. If we accept, then we further decide to fulfill it half-heartedly or whole-heartedly. The measure of our abiding peace, joy, and fulfillment largely depends on these decisions.
Holy discernment is a deliberate, intentional process involving each aspect of our humanity: physical, intellectual, emotional, and spiritual. It is comprised of a) disposing oneself fully to God on a frequent and regular basis, b) imploring God to reveal his will while promising to obey, c) listening for the voice of God in prayer and in interactions with others, and d) documenting the interior and exterior movements of the Holy Spirit as they occur. Maintaining a persistent state of grace is an essential overarching principle of holy discernment.
Jeremiah 1:5 clearly reveals that we can be really, profoundly, and truly known apart from our DNA, our relationships, our life experience, our achievements and failures, our wounds; many of these speak lies about our real/true identity. This same verse equally demonstrates that we cannot know ourselves in the fullness of truth apart from our holy mission. Verses 6-10 show our natural resistance to holy mission and God’s unfailing reassurances to work through us. Meditating on Jeremiah Chapter 1 is an awesome way to begin the journey of holy discernment.
In the age of COVID-19, many find themselves with an extraordinary amount of unplanned, unstructured time, providing a fortuitous opportunity to ponder life’s ‘big’ questions, such as discerning holy mission. For those who wish to get started, make 5 lists. These lists can be as long or short as you want, as broad or granular as you want. Here they are:
- Your talents (God-given aptitudes and capabilities that you’ve always possessed in some measure and that you’ve honed/refined during your lifetime)
- Your skills and areas of knowledge/expertise (competencies that you’ve learned during your lifetime)
- Your passions (people, places, things, interests, etc. that energize you)
- Your values (ideas, principles, beliefs to which you desire that your life conform)
- Your heroes/heroines (real people living or dead, fictional characters from books/movies, etc. whose appeal exceeds mere admiration)
For any who wish to continue this process, please reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at 678-993-8494 so we at HFCC can gauge the level of interest in this topic. If sufficient feedback is received, a follow-on article will be posted soon after. We here continually pray that you & your loved ones stay well during these unprecedented times.