Learn about the Rule of St. Benedict and Benedictine Life
Books to get started:
Is a Religious Vocation Right for Me?
Vocations Anonymous by Sr. Kathleen Bryant, RSC
This manual is designed to help people who have felt an attraction to religious life. Whether you are feeling confused and need direction, or feeling fairly sure about your vocation, there is something in this book to help you be better informed about religious life and learn about the factors that will influence your discernment process.
The Meaning of Vocation by John Paul II
Over the years, the Holy Father has said much about The Meaning of Vocation and how Catholics should respond to God's call. But it has been scattered through dozens of addresses he has given all over the world. Now at last this compact compendium collects the Pope's choicest remarks on God's call and how you should strive to hear and obey Him. He helps you clarify what God is calling you to do, explains how and when God calls, and even helps parents face up to their children's vocations!
Let Your Life Speak by Parker J. Palmer
This text is an openhearted gift to anyone who seeks to live authentically. The book's title is a time-honored Quaker admonition, usually taken to mean "Let the highest truths and values guide everything you do." But Palmer reinterprets those words, drawing on his own search for selfhood. "Before you tell your life what you intend to do with it," he writes, "listen for what it intends to do with you. Before you tell your life what truths and values you have decided to live up to, let your life tell you what truths you embody, what values you represent." Vocation does not come from willfulness, no matter how noble one's intentions. It comes from listening to and accepting "true self" with its limits as well as its potentials. Sharing stories of frailty and strength, of darkness and light, Palmer shows that vocation is not a goal to be achieved but a gift to be received.
What's Your Decision? by Sparough, SJ., Manney, and Hipshkind, SJ (Loyala Press)
In What's Your Decision? a fast-moving, personal, and highly practical book, the authors introduce readers to a time-tested Ignatian approach to effective decision making. Based on the insights of St. Ignatius, the book addresses common questions such as What's important and what's not when it comes to making decisions? Can I ever trust my gut? What do I really want? Ultimately, What's Your Decision? helps us understand that a God decision always precedes a good decision: When we invite God-who cares deeply about what we do-into the decision-making process, we find the freedom to make the best choice.
Sacred Compass by Brent Bell
How do you discover God's will for your life - every day? Sacred Compass offers a fresh and deeper way of living a God-directed life. J. Brent Bill draws on the quiet beauty of the Quaker path to show how spiritual discernment is more about sensing God's gracious presence than it is about making the right decisions. As you use this book to chart your own spiritual course, you will find yourself led to unexpected places, comforted by the knowledge that God uses all of our experiences to bring us close.
Hearing with the Heart: A gentle guide to discerning God's will by Debra Far
Only through learning to hear with our hearts tuned closely to God can we discern how we should find our way through the crowded and confusing thickets of our lives. In Hearing with the Heart, popular writer and retreat leader Debra Farrington leads you through a gentle process for discovering how to invite God's presence into every aspect of your daily life. Her story-filled discussions of key practices such as prayer, meditation, reading and reflection, and attentiveness to your body, your studies, and your relationships with your friends and family, help you discover how to be open to discerning God's will. Filled with a wealth of exercises, guidelines, and tools, Hearing with the Heart gives you the practical help you need to bring you closer to God. As you put these suggestions into practice you will find yourself opening more and more to God's infinite possibilities for you.
Discernment Matters by Mary Margaret Funk
This book is a resource for those who want to learn and practice discernment as taught by the early monastic tradition. It includes an accessible summary of teachings about discernment from monastic traditions of late antiquity, consideration of important tools for making decisions today, and practical examples from the lives of St. Benedict and St. Patrick, as well as from the experience of monastics today. With this fifth volume of the Matters Series, Funk completes one of the most comprehensive presentations of the spiritual life available today, demonstrating why this inner work is both necessary and such a joy.
Vision Magazine and Website
This resource has helpful articles on discernment, lists discernment events, and advertises religious communities. (http://www.vocationnetwork.org)
They also have an online survey to match you up with prospective communities. (http://www.vocation-network.org/match)