You have just asked me: how does one recognize God's call? Well, the secret of the vocation lies in the capacity for and joy of distinguishing, listening to, and obeying his voice. But to do this it is necessary to accustom our hearts to recognizing the Lord and to having an awareness of him as a Person who is close to me and loves me. As I said this morning, it is important to learn to live in our days moments of inner silence in order to hear the Lord's voice. You may be sure that if we learn to listen to this voice and to follow it generously, we have nothing to fear, we know and feel that God is with us, that God is Friend, Father and Brother. In a word: the secret of the vocation lies in the relationship with God, in prayer that develops, precisely, in inner silence, in the capacity for listening, hearing that God is close. And this is true both before the decision, that is, at the time of deciding and setting out, and afterward, if one wants to be faithful and to persevere on the way.
-Benedict XVI, Meeting with young people at the Cathedral of Sulmona, Italy