1. Prayer for discernment
A particular form of discernment involves the effort to discover our vocation. Since it is a very personal decision that others cannot make for us, it requires a certain degree of solitude and silence. The Lord speaks to us in a variety of ways, at work, through others and at every moment. Yet we simply cannot do without the silence of prolonged prayer, which enables us better to perceive God’s language, to interpret the real meaning of the inspirations we believe we have received, to calm our anxieties and to see the whole of our existence afresh in his own light.
Yet this silence does not make us close in ourselves. We must remember that prayerful discernment has to be born of an openness to listening – to the Lord and to others, and to reality itself, which always challenges us in new ways. Only if we re prepared to listen, do we have the freedom to set aside our own partial or insufficient ideas… In this way, we become truly open to accepting a call that can shatter our security, but leads us to a better life. It is not enough that everything be calm and peaceful. God may be offering us something more, but in our comfortable inadvertence, we do not recognise it. (From Pope Francis’ letter to young people, Christ Is Alive, art.283,284.)
2. Purpose and Discernment
‘…The person who makes a journey without purpose, as the Fathers say, labours in vain. … What aim then ought we to have when we come to meet one another? First of all, love, for it is said, “When you see your brother or sister, you see the Lord, your God.” Go in search of the fear of God, but with discernment, so that you go to meet one another as friends, each one bowing his head before the other, as we say each one humbling himself before God and before his brother, and cutting off his own will for the sake of his brother.’ (St Dorotheos of Gaza, Discourses.)
These are verbal Icons, expressions of how the world is seen from Saint Augustine's..