Forty-five men discerning their call to the priesthood gathered at the St Francis Xavier Major Seminary recently to learn practical tools for such discernment.
Cenacle Sr Linda Lizada gave the Oct 12-13 Tools for Discernment workshop to the participants who ranged in age from 18 to 35.
The workshop was part of a quarterly Diocesan Vocation Discernment Recollection organised by archdiocesan vocation director Fr Alex Chua.
Sr Linda, who has had many years of experience accompanying people in their spiritual journey, told participants that “the spiritual life encompasses all of our life”.
Thus, every aspect of one’s life serves as “material for our discernment”.
According to her, discernment is about “being able to see who God is and who am I to God, so that I can always respond to what is of God and reject what is not of God”.
She listed certain dispositions for discernment, such as a capacity for awareness and reflection, the desire for God and a relationship with Him, and a life of prayer.
She reminded participants that “discerning a choice to make is the easy part; what is more difficult is living a discerning life daily which lays the groundwork that helps us make the significant choices when the time comes”.
The workshop also provided opportunities for self-reflection and small-group sharing.
Participants said they found Sr Linda’s pointers on discernment practical.
Aloysius Tan, 19, a recently baptised Catholic from the Church of the Holy Family, shared that he has “gained much knowledge and skills from Sr Linda’s talks and now have a clearer picture of how to discern”.
He said he was grateful for help from his “brothers” in the seminary in helping him grow in intimacy with God and listening “to His small still voice”.
Three participants who came all the way from Brunei also said they benefitted much.
Nicholas Jones, 20, remarked that “useful, detailed and clear methods were provided. This recollection was particularly useful to get back in touch with what God wants for me”.
By Br Nicholas Lye
The writer is a seminarian.