Scripture And Discernment

Sometimes it can be very helpful to meditate with Scripture when you are trying to discern vocation. Two special Gospel stories stand out (1) Jesus’ call to his first disciples in Matthew 4:18-22; (2) The story of the rich young man/ruler in Mark 10: 17-28, Matthew 19: 16-30, and Luke 18: 18-30.

Find a comfortable place and quiet time
Read one of these stories over slowly several times
Sit quietly and let the story “speak to your heart”
Be patient and let yourself become aware of a word or phrase that seems to speak to you especially – let it choose you

Ask yourself some questions about that word or phrase like:
What does the word or phrase mean?
Why does it seem special to me?
What does it remind me of?
What is happening in my life right now that makes this word or phrase especially relevant?
How is it calling or challenging me?
Is Jesus asking for something MORE in your life?

Reflect slowly on your responses
Ask God for grace and help to understand the meaning of this Scripture for you
Listen for the promptings of the Spirit
Pray for courage to keep an open heart and to respond in love
Offer God thanks

Or you might find it helpful to pray with Psalm 139. Here is a moving modern translation of that Psalm found in Nan Merrill’s book, “Psalms for Praying: An Invitation to Wholeness”.

O my Beloved, You have searched me
and known me!
You know when I sit down and
when I rise up;
You discern my innermost thoughts.
You find me on the journey and
guide my steps;
You know my strengths and
my weaknesses.
Even before words rise up in prayer,
Lo, You have already heard
my heart call.
You encompass me with love where’er
I go,
and Your strength is my shield.
Such sensitivity is too wonderful for me;
it is high: boundless gratitude
is my soul’s response.

Where could I go from your Spirit?
Or how could I flee from
Your Presence?
If I ascend to heaven, You are there!
If I make my bed in darkness,
You are there!
If I soar on the wings of the morning
or dwell in the deepest parts of the sea,
Even there your Hand will lead me,
and your love will embrace me.
If I say, “Let only darkness cover me,
and the light around me be night,”
Even darkness is not dark to You,
and the night dazzles as with the sun;
the darkness is as light with You.

You formed my inward being,
You knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise You, for You are to be reverenced and adored.
Your mysteries fill me with wonder!
More than I know myself do You know me;
my essence was not hidden from You,
when I was being formed in secret,
intricately fashioned from the elements of the Earth.
Your eyes beheld my unformed substance;
in your records were written
every one of them,
the days were numbered for me,
when as yet there were none of them.
How precious to me are your creations,
O Blessed One!
How vast the sum of them!

Who could count your innumerable
gifts and blessings?
At all times, You are with me.

O that You would vanquish my fears,
O that ignorance and suffering
would depart from me -
My ego separates me from true
to surrendering myself into
your hands!
Yet are these not the very thorns that
focus my thoughts upon You?
I yearn to come to You in love,
to learn of your mercy and wisdom!

Search me, O my Beloved, and know
my heart!
Try me and discern my thoughts!
Help me to face the darkness within me;
enlighten me, that I might radiate
your Love and Light!