What should your life look like when you’re discerning?

Vocational discernment looks different for every person. Because of this uniqueness, every person relates to God in a slightly different way. Discernment is not cookie-cutter, but there are common things to do to help you better understand God’s will and grow closer to him. Ideally, if you are discerning religious life, you should strive to live a life that is Sacramental, Marian, Contemplative, Communal, and Informed. Read more below about each of these and click the blue title headings for a full article on that section.

This page is only a small introduction to discernment. If you are discerning religious life and are looking to learn more or to connect with someone who can help guide you in your discernment, Values Outreach can help you with our Discernment Mentorship Program.


  • Attend Mass frequently, daily if possible.

  • Increase your devotion to the Eucharist in Adoration.

  • Go to confession frequently, at least once a month if possible.


  • Do a Marian consecration.

  • Pray the rosary often, daily if possible.

  • Wear a scapular.

  • In prayer, ask for Mary’s special intercession for your vocation.


  • Spend at least 10-15 minutes in silent prayer every day.

  • Pray with Scripture, especially the Gospels.

  • Try praying the liturgy of the hours.

  • Make time for silence during your day.


  • If you are seriously discerning, you shouldn’t be doing it alone. Share what God is doing in your life with a trusted advisor like a priest, sister, professor, or campus minister. Learn more about the Values Outreach mentorship program here.

  • If there’s a community you’re feeling drawn to, consider reaching out to their vocation director and attending a retreat with their community. Learn more about upcoming retreats here.


  • Spend some time reading and praying with documents that will help you better understand what religious life is. Check out our Readings page for suggestions.

  • Receive in-depth formation about discernment and religious life with Values Outreach’s Discernment Mentorship Program.

  • If you have a community or spirituality you feel drawn to, read more about their founding members and charism. Order a Spirituality Box to get you started.

  • Consider attending a retreat with a religious community to give you a first-hand experience of what religious life is like. Find an upcoming retreat here.

Remember, discernment is about getting close to Jesus and letting Him guide your life.