WHAT IS A VOCATION?
The word "vocation" comes from the Latin Word "Vocare". This means a calling, and invitation. God created us and He is actively involved in our life. God is always calling us to be what He created us to be. A vocation is our call, our invitation to follow Him.
DO I HAVE A VOCATION?
Is God calling me? Yes. God calls every person to Himself. We could say that God calls us to be one of His children, a disciple, a saint (holy), a servant, and a great lover. These five universal calls are lived out in one of four vocational paths or lifestyles. Because God created us for happiness, we will never experience the full joy that God intends for us unless we live out our call in the vocational path or lifestyle that He placed within us at conception.
WHAT IS MY VOCATION?
Simply put, our vocation is to know, love, and serve God completely so that we may be happy here on earth and with Him in heaven for all eternity. We are made for God. We
God has given you some unique talents, gifts, abilities, and heart desires in order for you to live out your vocation to the fullest and thus be a holy and happy person. Remember that since God created you and is calling you to follow Him, He will give you the grace to discover your vocation and to live it to the fullest.
HOW DO I KNOW WHAT MY VOCATION IS?
The process of discovering and knowing one’s vocation is called discernment. Discernment is a process of actively seeking to know God’s Will for your life. Here are a number of steps that are recommended.
— Ask God. If we want to know what God has in store for us we need to ask Him what His plan is. The second part to asking God the "big question" is to listen. This dialogue of asking and listening to God is prayer. Prayer is vital in order for you to know God’s Will for your life. You need to set some time aside each day for prayer. Ask God: "Lord, what do you want me to do with my life? Please give me the wisdom to know what you are calling me to do the courage to follow whatever you ask, and the faith to trust that You have my best interests at heart."
Perhaps the most difficult part of prayer is listening. We often don’t hear a voice speaking to us. God’s time is not our kind of time. We may ask God a question but His answer might not come to us instantly. The habit of prayer helps us to be listening, open, and ready for Him to speak. God could speak through other people, through events, or through heartfelt reflection. God always speaks to us, but we don’t always listen. God speaks in His language. The language of God is silence. Prayer carves out time for silence. Prayer helps us to be attentive to listening and looking for God’s response.
— Study the Word of God. If the Bible is God’s message to us in human language, and we have asked God a question, then it makes sense that we use the Bible as part of our prayer. Let God’s Word enlighten your mind and heart. Don’t be in a hurry when you read the Scriptures. Read and reflect upon what your reading. Ask the Holy Spirit to inspire your reading of the Scripture just like He inspired the author to write it.
— Make use of the sacraments, especially draw strength from the sacramental grace of Reconciliation and the Eucharist. Attendance at Mass during the week is very helpful in keeping one focused.
— Eucharistic Adoration. Visit the Lord and have a heart to heart contact through a Eucharistic visit to a church.
— Make use of a spiritual director.
— Read information about vocations.
— Talk to persons who are happy and active in their vocations.
— Visit a seminary or religious community.
— Become involved in service to others.
— Talk to a vocation director. Don’t panic. They aren’t going to slap a collar on you if you are a guy and tote you off to the priory if you are a gal. Vocation directors are there to help walk with you in your process of discovery. Make use of them.
— Read the lives of the saints.
— Believe that God wants to work in your life just as powerfully as He has done in the lives of the saints and all of those who have faithfully embraced His plan.
— Authentic Reflection. Make time to be honest with what is going on inside you right now. What questions are tugging at your heart and mind?
— Dare to surrender your life to God.
WHAT IF GOD HAS A VOCATIONAL LIFESTYLE THAT DOESN'T INTEREST ME?
The process of discernment can be challenging. It can be scary. Remember that God created you. He loves you. He desires the best for you. From the moment of our conception, He loved what He saw and calls us back to Himself. His plans for you are not of evil, but a future full of hope. God is committed to guiding His chosen ones. Listen to God in prayer. Study the examples of the holy ones who have answered God’s call. Reflect on your life with God. There are two last things that you then need to do. The first is be like a turtle. In order for a turtle to move, it must stick its head out of the shell. Stick you neck out and move forward. The second thing is to be like the NIKE commercials; just DO IT.
PRAYER TO KNOW ONE’S VOCATION
PRAYER OF ABANDONMENT
I abandon myself into your hands;
Let only your will be done in me,
Into your hands I commend my soul;
For you are my Father.
PERSONAL PRAYER FOR GOD’S DIRECTION
Lord, I thank You for the gifts You have given me, especially for life, love, family and friends.
Help me to know myself better and to know my talents as I pray, study and decide on my life’s work. Help me to see and understand the path You open for me. Help me to choose a life’s work which will be in response to my potential and Your love for me. If I am being invited to follow You as a priest, deacon, brother, sister, missionary or lay minister, give me a generous heart to respond to Your challenging call and the strength to follow You wherever You lead me. Amen
Diocese of Duluth