Many people think that ‘vocation’ is a word that only refers to priests, monks and nuns, whereas others think it simply equates with the following of a particular trade or profession in life. Vocation is something which applies to all men and women; it cuts to the heart of their desires and who they are. Vocation is about discovering who we really are and what we should be doing.
We are all called, we all have an individual vocation which encompasses our whole lives; the people we are, the choices we make, the lives we live. Each of us has a special path to follow in life. Christians, and many others, believe that through the ages, God has called people to cooperate with Him in His plans for the world in practical ways. Many of the stories in Bible are about individuals who have been called, such as Abraham, Moses and the prophets, the 12 apostles, Mary, Paul, etc.
In the first few lines of the Bible, in the Book of Genesis, God calls creation into existence by his Word — “Let there be light!” Throughout the Bible as a whole, God is continually inviting men and women to be his Chosen People. When Jesus Christ came down to the earth, he also called people to follow him and find their true identity and purpose in life.
The truth is that each and every person has been called into existence for a reason. We have all been created out of love and for a loving purpose. God has a special plan for each one of us. One way we can reflect on this is by considering our vocation as a journey towards God, following his invitation. That journey is full of different experiences, and like on many journeys, we each have to read the signs and make choices about which way to go. These choices affect the out come of our lives. God does not predetermine the journey we make; rather he gives us freewill – an ability to choose one way or another. While we have the freedom to make choices, we also need to understand that God does not just leave us on our own. He is present in our lives. He established the Church as a human family, as a community of those who have been called. This community, the Church, feeds each one of our spiritual lives through life-giving words, actions and prayers and sacraments. This is very much a reality which lies at the heart of religious life.
What is truly amazing is to consider that each one of us is part of God’s master plan. Each one of us has a role to play. Each of us is called to become more truly the person that God wants her to be and to use the gifts and talents one has to achieve this goal.
Once we begin to think of our life in a vocational sense, and realize that we are called to be someone special and to do something unique, our life will change. Many questions will rise in our mind, not least what our own personal ‘definite service’ is to be. The challenge facing us then is to discern what specifically we are being called to be and do; become a husband or wife, teacher or even a religious nun! What is for sure is that this process involves spending time in prayer, reflection and discussion with a trusted person. It’s a path of most wonderful discovery.
Are you ready to give it a try?
(From The Path to Self-discovery and New Life Br. Francis Copyright National Office for Vocation The Monastery BBC2 TV, 2005)