A framework for vocation adapted from Ignatius Loyola

by Paul Burmeister

What follows is a Christian framework for decision-making, specifically applied to vocation, which is a liberal adaptation from Ignatius’s Spiritual Exercises, “Two Methods of Making (a Choice) during the Third Occasion.”) My adaptation is Lutheran, and so I avoid connecting choices to merit or salvation; however, I agree with an emphasis on prayer in the process.

When selecting or discerning your vocation, in the narrow sense—work or career—here is a good process or sequence.
1. Place the options or choices in front of yourself.
2. Remember the end of your choice (to use your God-given gifts to serve others) and maintain a perspective not owing to internal and / or external pressures.
3. Pray to God for help and guidance, remembering the Third Petition (that God’s will be done in your life.)
4. Apply reason to your choice, weighing the advantages and disadvantages of a narrowed set of options.
5. Make a choice. Remember that your choice can be dynamic or mutable, over time and experience.
6. Ask God, in prayer, for his blessing on your choice.

This is not the only process, and it should be considered as part of a larger, inclusive experience of a person’s calling.