What is a Vocation?
Your Vocation is Your Call
The word “vocation” derives its meaning from the Latin root vocare, which means “to call.” In the Catholic Church, your “vocation” refers to God’s call for you and your life. Jesus calls all of us in a unique and intimate way to know Him, love Him, follow Him, and serve Him.
God has placed on each one of our hearts the desire for fulfillment, which is a desire for deep and authentic happiness. This desire is ultimately fulfilled in a relationship with God in Jesus Christ. True happiness is found in Christ – in our relationship with Him, in His will for us, and in a life given completely to Him. A vocation, then, is our path to perfect happiness, a journey by which God draws us closer to Himself through a life of holiness.
Your vocation truly is a calling. This means that it does not come from the world, nor from ourselves. Rather, a vocation is an invitation from Jesus Christ to follow Him.
Holiness is Your First, and Most Important Vocation
The most fundamental and primary vocation of all people is the call to holiness. Holiness is not the luxury of a few, but the simple duty of all. We all are called to be holy - to know, love, follow, and serve God with our entire being. We all are called to live a life of virtue and to make a gift of ourselves to our neighbor in sacrificial love. We all are called to an intimate relationship with Christ through the sacraments and a life of prayer.
The call to holiness touches us in the very depths of who we are. It is the reason for which we were created. It is the meaning of life! God – who is all Goodness, Truth, and Beauty - created us for Himself. He is the fulfillment of the deepest and truest desires of our heart. In the depths of our heart, we realize that God loves us infinitely; so much so that His love gives us our very identity. We are as His beloved sons and daughters.
This is the lofty calling that all people share. All baptized men and women are called to become saints. We call this the “Universal Call to Holiness,” and it is a life-long pilgrimage. We all are sinners in need of God’s mercy. Only through God’s grace and mercy are we able to persevere in this life of holiness.
A Particular Vocation to Holiness
Jesus Christ, in and through the Church, invites individuals to a unique life of holiness by means of their particular vocation. Particular vocations refer to the unique state in life by which men and women are called to live out the universal call to holiness.
There are four particular vocations:
Our particular vocation is the way that we are uniquely called to respond to the universal call to holiness. Each particular vocation is a way of following Christ, growing in holiness, and serving the Church and the world. It is our path to greatest holiness, and therefore to our greatest happiness: life in Christ. Jesus Christ is calling many men to freely give of themselves and lay down their lives in service to the Church and the world as priests.
Discovering God’s particular calling for our lives takes time. We must spend much time in prayer and silence, listening for God’s voice. Hearing this vocational call takes patience, perseverance, and trust in the Father’s will. This process of hearing God’s call for your life with the help of the Holy Spirit is called “discernment.”