A vocation is a calling. For Christians this is a calling from God, a sense that you think he has something in particular in mind for you. A vocation could be nearly anything: God could be calling you to marriage, to a particular profession such as teaching or nursing, or to serving him in the Church’s ministry. You may feel called to more than one thing at a time, such as filling the world with beauty as a musician or artist whilst also serving God in your daily work. There are endless possibilities.
Some people feel that God is calling them to serve as a deacon or priest.
“Priests are ordained to lead God’s people in the offering of praise and the proclamation of the gospel. They share with the Bishop in the oversight of the Church, delighting in its beauty and rejoicing in its well-being. They are to set the example of the Good Shepherd always before them as the pattern of their calling. With the Bishop and their fellow presbyters, they are to sustain the community of the faithful by the ministry of word and sacrament, that we all may grow into the fullness of Christ and be a living sacrifice acceptable to God.”
“Deacons are called to work with the Bishop and the priests with whom they serve as heralds of Christ’s kingdom. They are to proclaim the gospel in word and deed, as agents of God’s purposes of love. They are to serve the community in which they are set, bringing to the Church the needs and hopes of all the people. They are to work with their fellow members in searching out the poor and weak, the sick and lonely and those who are oppressed and powerless, reaching into the forgotten corners of the world, that the love of God may be made visible.”
The religious life (monks, nuns, friars, brothers, sisters) is committing to serving God in a life of prayer and service. There are lots of different religious communities all of whose life and work is different. Large or small, contemplative or missionary, there is a lot of variety.
Those committing to the Religious life take vows and make promises to God. Such vows can take different forms and are the mark of monks and nuns, friars and sisters.
The vows differ by community, but all include:
- Living a simple life and sharing possessions (poverty)
- Refraining from sexual or exclusive relationships (chastity)
- Setting aside the freedom to do as we please and instead committing to listening to others (obedience).
All these vows involve deep and positive values of attending to God and living together. The Religious life is demanding yet joyful, a way to find God and relate to the challenges of today’s society.
There are lots of forms of lay ministry, which doesn’t involve ordination or making vows. Some are authorised or licensed forms of public ministry, such as the preaching ministry of a Reader or Evangelist.
What should I do if I think I have a calling?
Pray to God for guidance.
Read so that your mind is informed.
Talk it over with someone you trust.