How to discern God’s will is one of Fr. Mark-Mary’s favorite topics. He has some principles he uses to guide his discernment.
He narrows these principles down to four: needs, responsibilities, desires, and capacities.
Needs: We need to be intimate with God’s word. He has already given us his word, but often we haven’t read it before discerning. Have a regular relationship with the Word of God. The primary place we should look to learn his will is in Scripture.
Responsibilities: School, your career, or your living situation are examples of responsibilities that you should consider when figuring out God’s will for you. God probably isn’t calling you to travel the world as a missionary if you’re the father of five kids under seven. If you’re a student who needs to study, God probably is not calling you to go on a service trip with friends.
Desires: Even though they shouldn’t determine everything, your desires do matter. If a desire doesn’t go against the other principles, then do it.
Capacities: If you want to do service and grow in your relationship with God, understand your limitations. If you’re honest about your capacities, God will understand. Maybe you just don’t have the capacity to make that extra commitment. Whether or not you can do something is important, and if you can’t that’s nothing to be ashamed of. God is probably calling you to something else. If you push yourself too much you may end up hurting yourself and others.
Lastly, we can all do a better job serving the needs of the poor. When discerning, do not forget what you can do for them.
Remember, we are pilgrims. Little by little, we’re going to make it.
Also, check out Jackie and Bobby Angel’s book, Pray, Decide, and Don’t Worry: 5 Steps to Discerning God’s Will.
Ascension also has other great free resources on discovering God’s will for you. You can find them here.
Meet Fr. Mark-Mary
Father Mark-Mary was ordained as a Franciscan Friar of the Renewal (CFR) in 2018 and lives at a friary in the Bronx.
The mission of the CFRs is to wholeheartedly embrace Jesus through fidelity to the Church and her Sacraments. Paired with their commitment to prayer, contemplation, and study of Sacred Scripture, the CFRs serve those around them, especially the poor, in the footsteps of Christ.
Discover beautiful music from the CFRs and Fr. Mark-Mary’s book Habits for Holiness: Small Steps for Spiritual Progress, both available from Ascension.