Everyone has a vocation. What’s yours? Everyone is called to holiness. (Lumen Gentium, Ch. V). The particular way you live out that call is your vocation. For some, it’s the married life; for others, the single life; still others, it’s a life of love and service to God and His people as a priest or consecrated religious.
A vocation is an invitation – a personal invitation from God to you. An invitation to love and serve Him in a particular way. God is interested in you personally and He calls you by name. A vocation is who you are, not what you do. It’s not a job or career. St. Catherine of Sienna says: "Be who you are meant to be and you will set the world on fire.” Every vocation – married, single, priesthood, or religious – is a call to love.
God has a specific vocation in mind for you because He created you with a specific plan and purpose. Each of us is a unique image of God. No one else can show God to the world as you can. He has a beautiful and totally individual plan for each one of us.
So, if you are a young, single person, a very important question to ask yourself is: what is God calling me to do with my life? How can I love and serve Him best in this life and be happy with Him in the next?
Young men: might God be calling you to be a priest or consecrated religious? And you, young women: might God be calling you to be a consecrated religious? God will probably not send you an angel as He did to our Mother Mary at the Annunciation, but there are some things you can do to begin to find the answer.
1) Ask God Himself if He is calling you to this vocation. He has a plan for your life so pray about it. Develop a life of prayer. In an address to seminarians and novices in 2013, Pope Francis said: “Becoming a priest or a man or woman religious is not primarily our own decision, rather it is a response to a call of love.”
2) Get advice from people who can really help you find the answer: trusted friends, family, spiritual leaders, the priest or religious sister in your parish.
3) Contact the Office for Vocations of the Diocese of Norwich and have a chat with the Director. He will help you find the resources you need to be better informed.
Pope St. John Paul II told young people: “Let yourself be seized by Jesus and try to live just for him!” That’s the challenge and beauty of a vocation to the priesthood or consecrated life.
Our recent Popes have all reminded us that praying for vocations is the responsibility of all the faithful. We must all pray for the young people in our lives and help them discern their vocation.
Parents in particular are called to plant the seeds of vocation awareness in the hearts of their children and help them grow to fruition. Start when they are very young to talk to them about the beauty of a life lived for God in the married state, singlehood, priesthood or consecrated religious life.