7 Stages of Discernment - Stage 3.5 - When in Doubt...
These 7 Stages of Discernment are taken and modified for discerning religious life from the book To Save a Thousand Souls by Fr. Brett A. Brannen.
Stage 3.5: When in doubt, take it to the Church!
A woman sometimes reaches a point of discernment where she simply does not know what to do next. She is between stage 3 and stage 4 and seems to have reached a stalemate. She may feel paralyzed: “I don’t know what else to do to discern, but I am still not sure where to go.” In this case, the wisdom of our tradition and of many saints recommends that she submit her discernment to the Church. How? By going to the superior of the religious community and telling her everything, then doing what she says. By her office, she has received a special charism from the Holy Spirit to make decisions like this, and she can truly help a woman make a final decision whether to enter religious life.
God also speaks through the formators of the community, as well as the Chapter and Council when they approve a woman to progress to each successive stage of formation. If a woman finishes Aspirancy and is approved unanimously by the formation team, and the superior accepts her to enter the Postulancy, the Church has spoken once again. If the woman has peace, and her spiritual director encourages her to continue, the Church is speaking! All of these are very significant signs, leading to the ultimate sign which comes on perpetual profession day.
You can’t go wrong by submitting your discernment to the Church.
Next week: Stage 5: Monastery Discernment