What good is discernment?

Special to The Messsage

Nearly eight months ago, four young men carried tubs and boxes up two flights of stairs and claimed bedrooms at the Father Deydier House of Discernment. Moms and dads helped most of them unfold bedsheets and arrange clothing in closets before hugs and a kisses goodbye to begin another chapter in their young lives.

House residents Jake Schneider, left and Jacob Greulich help make waffles for the house residents to enjoy for dinner on a Thursday evening.
Photos courtesy of Father Tyler Tenbarge

From the outside, one might look and wonder, “Why would a young man want to move into a house of discernment during the ‘prime’ of his young life?”

I say that is a good question.

Before you were formed in the womb, God the Creator knew you (Jer 1:5). He had already destined your soul not just for joy and peace, but for greatness – a determined and powerful purpose in our community and for our Church.

Our life’s purpose is like a seed. As a tiny seed already contains everything within it to become a towering tree that will shade and flower and reach to the sky, likewise each of us has within us the great capacity and call to become what we were meant to be. It is the latter of these two that often needs extra support.

College guys join house residents for faith formation and fraternity at the Father Deydier House of Discernment on a men’s night.
Photos courtesy of Father Tyler Tenbarge

In their early 20’s, young men are striving to find meaning. They want guidance and direction for their great energy and dreams. They have materials and energy to become mighty oaks, but they don’t always know how to get there. “Which sort of person am I supposed to be? How will I get there in the best way? When I stumble or follow the false path, how do I get back on the road?”

That is exactly what discernment is for. We each have a great capacity to become who we are meant to be. Our talents and skills, and the context into which we are born, help get us started. If I am good with my feet, I will play soccer. If my ear is attuned to music, I might pick up a saxophone. If I like this girl, then I might ask her on a date. These are good pursuits, but having capacity is not enough. We likewise have a call, a summons to become the person God ordered us to be. Therein we will find all the other missing pieces that talent, dreams or preferences fail to meet.

What good does discernment do? Well, it offers us a reprieve from the unending pursuit of “what I could do” by replacing it with asking God “what I should do?” If God indeed knows us better than we know ourselves, and if within us is the seed for the life to which we are called, then the prime of our lives is exactly when we ought to be asking these questions about our vocations. And the House of Discernment supports men as they pursue just that.

Applications for the 2021-2022 year at the House of Discernment are currently being accepted. If you know of a young man (18-30) who might benefit from a Catholic community of prayer and fraternity while continuing his career or college, please have him contact House Director, Fr. Tyler Tenbarge ([email protected]).