What is a vocation?
The root word for vocation is vocare, which is Latin for “to call.” God has created each one of us for a particular calling or way to follow Him. Through the Sacrament of Baptism we become a child of God and thus called to live in holiness through love of God and neighbor. It is important to also remember that our true vocation does not come from the world, but rather is an invitation directly from God to follow Him.
Our first or primary vocation is to live in holiness, or in other words, to become a saint! While this is a challenge for us all, it should be the goal of every baptized child of God.
Our particular vocation then becomes our state in life: Priesthood, Consecrated Life, Marriage or Single Life.
Learning what our particular vocation will be requires a process we call discernment. It will be utilized at various stages in our lives and God will use others to assist us in that process.
How do I discern?
The best first step in this sometimes difficult process is to follow the words most spoken in the Holy Scripture, “Be not afraid!” Whether it was an angel announcing good news, or Christ speaking to His disciples, setting aside your fear is the fist step. Once you are open to hearing the Lord speak to your heart, a message that will most likely come as a quiet whisper, you will be able to truly discern, figure out, ‘Lord, where are you calling me to serve you in this life?’
Discernment must involve prayer, the willingness to seek out quiet in an otherwise noisy world, a desire to know God’s will for your life, and a love for the Church and all Her members.
Keeping yourself in constant contact with the sacraments helps in discernment. Going to Mass on a regular basis even during the weekdays, will help to hear God’s voice. Going to confession on a regular basis, at least once a month, can help keep the Holy Spirit in your heart and guide you.
Finding a Spiritual Director can help you to see God’s will more clearly. The first purpose of the spiritual director is to help a discerner construct a spiritual plan of life and hold him or her accountable to it. Then, once they are praying faithfully, using the sacraments, and growing in virtue, the discernment of one’s vocation becomes a regular topic of discussion. The spiritual director also will guide the person to good books or resources to aid their discernment.
Prayer and Discernment Resources
To serve the Church as a priest or a religious is indeed a humbling honor which no one merits but which Our Lord chooses for us. We must therefore pray to the Lord of the Harvest to send laborers into His vineyard, and we should always pray for vocations to serve the Church in the priesthood and the religious life. These are prayers and resources to assist those discerning their vocation.
Melchizedek Project Discernment Groups (Men)
Stay tuned here for more info about discernment groups in your area! In the meantime, check out Melchizedek Project to learn more and to find the podcasts from author, Fr. Brett Brannen.
Avow Discernment Groups (Women)
Stay tuned here for more info about discernment groups in your area! In the meantime, check out Avow to learn more.