Reflection: Vocation and Discernment

Novice Prayer Service Wednesday October 23rd, 2013

On Discernment

God, come to our assistance. Glory to the Father. As it was in the beginning. Alleluia.

Psalm 25

Antiphon: Lord, allow your guiding spirit to enter our hearts.

To you, O LORD, I lift up my soul.
O my God, in you I trust;
do not let me be put to shame;
do not let my enemies exult over me.
Do not let those who wait for you be put to shame;
let them be ashamed who are wantonly treacherous.

Make me to know your ways, O LORD;
teach me your paths.
Lead me in your truth, and teach me,
for you are the God of my salvation;
for you I wait all day long.

Be mindful of your mercy, O LORD, and of your steadfast love,
for they have been from of old.
Do not remember the sins of my youth or my transgressions;
according to your steadfast love remember me,
for your goodness’ sake, O LORD!

Good and upright is the LORD;
therefore he instructs sinners in the way.
He leads the humble in what is right,
and teaches the humble his way.
All the paths of the Lord are steadfast love and faithfulness,
for those who keep his covenant and his decrees.

Reading from Hecker’s diary, June 6, 1844

What would the spirit have me to do? To say? It seems to give me no rest, would it have me to be still, quiet and peaceful?

What is the work that the spirit is doing now within me?

The spirit draws me ever inward and will not permit me to read, think, or do anything else but attend to it. It is like a young bride; it would have me ever in its presence speaking of its charms.


Incline my heart according to your will, O God.

Incline my heart according to your will, O God.

Speed my steps along your path,

according to your will, O God.

Glory to the Father…

Incline my heart according to your will, O God.


We pray for all of us present, that we might discern where the Holy Spirit is guiding us.

Lord hear our prayer.

We pray for all earnest seekers to find where God leads them in life.

Lord hear our prayer.

We pray for the young men joining us this weekend who are discerning a life with the Paulists.

Lord hear our prayer.

We pray that all leaders, civil and religious, listen to the people and to God

Lord hear our prayer.

For what else shall we pray?

Our Father…

O God, who enlightens the minds and inflames the hearts of the faithful by the Holy Spirit, grant that through the same Spirit we hear in our hearts where you are guiding us. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Lord bless us, protect us from all evil, and bring us to everlasting life.
Let us bless the Lord.
And give God thanks.

— Novice


Reflection: Self-Sacrifice

(Editor’s Note: As part of the discernment and training process, the novices and students write and lead prayer services.  Evan will share his from time to time as he writes them.)

Novice Prayer Service Thursday October 15th, 2013
On Sacrifice

You will save more souls through prayer and suffering than will a missionary through his teachings and sermons alone.
-Jesus to St. Faustina, Diary of St. Faustina, 1767

Miss no single opportunity of making some small sacrifice, here by a smiling look, there by a kindly word; always doing the smallest right and doing it all for love.
-St. Thérèse of Lisieux

Tonight I thought we could use this prayer service to reflect on the sacrificing nature of a vocation. We willing give ourselves in love to the service of others, especially as future priests. There is also an aspect of sacrificing the “normal” life. We won’t have the small suburb home with a white picket fence, a wife, two kids, and a dog. Instead, we are called to live for the world, not simply in it. I thought one of the best ways to explore sacrifice would actually be to look at a few scenes from movies that have sacrifice as a central theme in a prayerful manner. I’ll give a little set-up explaining each scene.

Movie One: Road to Perdition, scene at 1:33:15

After a fellow gangster kills his wife and kids, Tom Hanks has to take his son across the country in order to keep him alive. In this scene, Tom confronts his mob boss about the gangster who is also stealing money from the boss. In the end, Tom does get his son across the country, but dies in the process of protecting his son.

Movie Two: The Iron Giant, scene at 1:14:00

 Set in Maine during the 1950’s, a giant robot crashes to Earth and befriends a 10 year old child. The  robot has amnesia and cannot remember his mission. He learns about Superman and being a hero from  the child. When the local town finds out about the robot when he save a kid from falling to his death,  they go into full panic thinking he is a monster sent to destroy them. The military is called in and the  robot goes into a rage and remembers his mission (which is to destroy the Earth). This leads to the  military launching a nuclear missile at the town.

Movie Three: Stranger than Fiction, scenes at 1:31:09 and 1:35:45

 Will Ferrell starts hearing his own life being narrated as though he was a character in a book. One  morning he hears the voice say that things were set in motion for him to die. He eventually tracks  down the author and reads the finished manuscript detailing how he will die.

So in all of these films there is a sense of love for others, even total strangers, where one is
willing to sacrifice themselves completely. A vocation, especially one to God, can be seen in a very  similar way. We don’t have to find a way to get ourselves killed, but we can find small things to do for others, not for ourselves. We can take an example after Christ and His most Holy sacrifice. In our  sacrifices we can find God, His love for us, and our own conversion to holiness (to being superman).

Share any thoughts or feelings.

 Closing Prayer:

Jesus, tender and loving Lamb of God, Utmost Sacrifice of all sacrifices, Your glory is  reverberated in  the highest. Being preoccupied with my well-being, You chose to self-sacrifice Yourself, Setting aside all Your personal glories. I thank You Lord Jesus for Your act of love! Your action has drawn me closer to You. Teach me to model in smaller things, To sacrifice in order to help others, Guiding my soul to endure abstinence. Lamb of God, I thank you endlessly!

Amen.  (Unknown origin)

— Novice