The person enters into an agreement with the Vocation Director to begin a process of prayer, conversation and investigation concerning a future decision. The person agrees to regular prayer, spiritual direction, attending some events, visiting and meeting Jesuits. This process can take place over months or years, with an ebb and flow of his interest, attraction, and desire. The process often follows the guidance of St. Ignatius' Spiritual Exercises.
Throughout the process the seeker follows the Ignatian tradition of evaluating our experience in the light of prayer and reflection. The circle is: experience, reflection, prayer — these elements continuously engage the person’s heart with the help of spiritual direction and conversation with others.
- Prayer — Prayer is the spiritual glue that fits the whole process together. A vocation is about a relationship with God and an invitation to deepen a person’s response to that relationship. Prayer is essential. But prayer is not something a person can master alone. We need guidance to help us pray better and to hear what the Lord is saying in prayer. Spiritual Direction is the next step.
- Spiritual Direction –This involves finding another committed Christian who will journey with the one discerning. The spiritual director is not a counselor or problem-solver, but a companion who listens to the one praying. The director guides and gently challenges the person to be faithful to prayer. The director may offer practical suggestions on how to pray better or may help the person with struggles in prayer.
- Initial Decision -– With the help of a spiritual director, the person begins to settle on a decision about the future. The person begins to move closer toward a direction, and then weighs the pros and cons, and consults all who can offer good advice.