Which vocation is God calling you to? Pray and ask Him to show you

Sometimes, people believe the word "vocation" is connected only to the priesthood. However, we all are called to a vocation. As we begin National Vocation Awareness Week (Nov. 6-12), we will look briefly on what it means to have a vocation.

There are essentially two vocations in our lives: our general and specific vocation.

We received our vocation at our baptism. For at our baptism, we died to a life of sin and death, and were clothed with the divine life of Christ. Original sin wiped away, and we were put into right relationship with God. By the merits of Christ, we are God’s children. This is exciting news: We belong to someone and have an identity! Our general vocation is to live this identity as a beloved child in the dignity and worth of what it means to be created in the image and likeness of God. You are loved with an infinite love that is given freely. It is our duty, then, to live a life worth living.

We are part of the family of God, and because of this, not only are we loved, but we have a specific way to live. God calls us to a specific vocation, which is another way of saying a specific task and purpose for which God created us. This vocation could be marriage, religious life, the generous single life, or the priesthood.

Marriage

Jesus raised marriage to a sacrament at the Wedding at Cana. The fact that many are called to marriage doesn’t make it any less crucial or lofty. Marriage and family life are the fabric of our society. Families are the “domestic church” where we learn how to love, forgive and share. When someone gets married, they are responsible for bringing their spouse to heaven. If that is not enough, when children come, they are responsible for their children’s salvation also. Marriage within the Church is supposed to reflect God’s love for His people. And with the support and love of their wives and families, many men are called to serve the Church in a unique way as deacons.

Religious life

Another vocation is to the religious life as a religious sister or brother. It might seem that this way of life is dying out, but that is not the case. Many religious orders, such as the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist, are growing at an exponential pace. The average age of women entering this congregation is just 21 years old! They are such an incredibly happy group, shunning what the world says will bring them joy and fulfillment by living a life dedicated to serving others. I don’t think I've ever seen a picture of any of them not smiling from one ear to the other.

Single life

One vocation of which we don't speak often enough is the generous single life. While a temptation of the single life is to life in self-serving way, lived out properly, it can be one that gives to others in a unique way. Many people who are employed for the Church are single, as they see their work and ministry as one. This is the same with many missionaries, who can travel the world only because they have fewer responsibilities at home.

Another beautiful tradition returning to the Church in recent years is that of consecrated virgins. These are women who feel called to be the spouse of Christ in a public way, but without joining a religious order. They live in the world to be a sign pointing to a heavenly reality. We have seven consecrated virgins in the Archdiocese of Detroit today.

Priesthood

Lastly, there is the priesthood. It is such a wonderful life. I love being a priest and what I get to do. I get to pray Mass, give people the Eucharist, forgive sins in the confessional, preach the Word, and administer the Sacraments. People invite us into all aspect of their lives, which is humbling and rewarding at the same time.

I’m certainly not bored or lonely. I have much joy in my life. Do I have to sacrifice? Of course! We all are called to some type of sacrifice in our lives, as every vocation comes with one. The cross is something that we can never avoid, but be not afraid! Jesus went before us to show us how it is done. God will supply the grace needed for whatever vocation he has called us. A life of ease and comfort will never satisfy anyone, because it is in the work and responsibility that we find fulfillment. Why? Because we will be doing what God has made us for!

I call and challenge men to step forward to become the man God has called you to be. We need priests! Archbishop Vigneron has declared this a Year of Prayer for Priestly Vocations in the Archdiocese of Detroit, asking us to pray fervently for more priests because it is one of our most immediate needs. Yes, all vocations are in trouble, and we have many things to be praying for, but this is a time to focus on calling forth a new generation of holy men to serve in the priesthood. Prayer is powerful; it can move mountains and can move the hearts of men to say "yes" to their vocation. Visit prayforvocations.com and detroitpriestlyvocations.com for many resources.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, we are God’s beloved children. Because we are His, we have a purpose. If we already know our vocation, let us live it out more faithfully every day. If we don’t know it, let us pray that God will reveal it to us at the proper time. Let us all pray for our young people, that they will have the courage to follow Jesus where he leads. May they be like the Blessed Mother, who was able to say, “Be it done to me, according to thy word.”

Fr. Craig Giera is director of priestly vocations for the Archdiocese of Detroit.



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