Are You Called?
You Have a Vocation
Throughout our history, Christians have worked to build God’s kingdom in many different ways. By our baptism we become part of God’s saving work in this world. The beautiful truth is that God has given each of us specific gifts and talents and marks us with specific roles in the Church. We call these roles vocations, and each of us has one. At some point in our lives, this vocation begins to become clear to us in little ways, and God guides our heart and mind to realize what our vocation is. This prompting of God is our call. God calls people to be married or single persons, priests, deacons, and religious sisters or brothers.
Do You Feel Called?
Different people feel their call in different ways. Some have profound experiences they cannot describe. Others hear their call in the voices of those they are close to or those who love them encouraging them to explore a certain vocation. Still others realize their call through their ministries in the church or even their jobs. This nudging of God to service can sometimes be difficult to understand. It seems even more difficult these days to come to terms with the calling to “Church vocations,” namely to the priesthood and religious life, because we do not see as many priests, sisters, and brothers in the world as we have in previous decades. However, the fact remains that God still calls people to Church vocations. Therefore, we all need help in figuring out who God is calling us to be. The process of figuring this out is called discernment.
How Do You Understand Your Call?
Discerning our vocation requires us to be honest with ourselves, with God, and with those on whom we rely for help. You have to be able to ask yourself the hard questions:
- What are my talents?
- What ministry inspires me and gives me life?
- How can I see myself helping the Church?
- What are the voices in my life (God, conscience, family, friends) telling me about who I am?
- Is this feeling/voice/nudging/calling really from God?
- What fears are keeping me from continuing my discernment?
- Can I imagine myself as a priest, as a sister, as a brother?
While asking yourself these questions, you should make discernment a part of your daily lives. There are some very vital things you can do in your discernment process:
- Stay close to the sacraments – Participating in Mass on Sundays and daily where possible allows you to be surrounded by God’s grace and peace. Making confessions more often helps purify the conscience. The more you live in God’s grace, the clearer your discernment.
- Get a Spiritual Director – A spiritual director is a person you can trust to guide you well in the Spirit. We need someone with whom we can talk through our discernment process, who can challenge us to deal with the difficult questions, and who can offer us insight. It is best to find someone who is living the vocation we are discerning. Look to the leadership in your home parish, youth/young adult/adult ministry group, school, or here at the Vocation Office to help you find a spiritual director.
- Pray for guidance every day – The Holy Spirit is your first and best guide in discernment. Either pray in your own words for guidance, or find a written discernment prayer you can pray every day. Set a time for prayer, and stick with it. If you already have a healthy prayer life, you can easily add prayer for your own discernment. Let the Spirit move your heart and mind to deeper clarity.
- Serve your parish community – You cannot come to terms with how God is calling you to serve if you have not experienced some service first. Find out where your parish needs help: Eucharistic ministers, lectors, money counters, vistors to the sick or homebound, catechists, Knights of Columbus, Guadalupanas, etc.
- Attend vocation activities – The Vocation Office offers vocation reflection days and retreats throughout the year. You can look on our calendar of events or see if your parish has a vocation committee that offers opportunities to discern with others.
- Get informed – On this site you will find specific information for the vocations to Diocesan Priesthood and Religious Life. You will also find Frequently Asked Questions and stories from Seminarians studying to be priests.
Do not be afraid to ask questions, do research, attend events, and make decisions. It is our loving God who is guiding you, and He will never let you down. And remember, when the people of the Archdiocese pray for those discerning their vocation, they are praying for you!