Vocations

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"Let your conscience be your guide."
VOCATION-YOU-KEEP-USING-THAT-WORD.jpg

Recognizing our vocation (our calling from God) is not like obeying or disobeying the Commandments. God speaks to us in our hearts and invites us to follow where He leads us.

St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus
Love, in fact, is the vocation that includes all others; it is a universe of its own, encompassing all time and space--it is eternal.[1]

Etymology

Vocation is derived from the Latin verb, "voco, vocare," from which we get words like vocal, vocalize, vocative, invoke, invocation, convoke, convocation, avocation, evoke, evocation, revoke, revocation, advocate, etc.

A vocation is different from a commandmentItalic text. Responding to a vocation is a free choice that we make. Saying yes to God's invitation is not a matter of compulsion or punishment, as is is in the case of obeying the laws of God.

Universal call to the Church

Universal vocation to holiness

We are all called to take on Jesus' character, to be sanctified by God's sovereign action within us, and to be vessels of grace to the world. "Shine like bright stars."

"But grace was given to each of us according to the measure of Christ's gift" (Eph 4:7).

"All Catholics must therefore aim at Christian perfection and, each according to his station, play his part that the Church may daily be more purified and renewed. For the Church must bear in her own body the humility and dying of Jesus, against the day when Christ will present her to Himself in all her glory without spot or wrinkle" (UR 4).

LG 40-41.

States in life

The Laity

“By reason of their special vocation it belongs to the laity to seek the kingdom of God by engaging in temporal affairs and directing them according to God’s will. . . . It pertains to them in a special way so to illuminate and order all temporal things with which they are closely associated, that these may always be effected and grow according to Christ and may be to the glory of the Creator and Redeemer" ("Lumen Gentium," 31).

Faithful and Chaste Singles

Never married

We don't have a truly great name for the disciples of Jesus who follow Him faithfully in the single life. The best I've been able to come up with so far is the single-hearted. The singular? The singular state? Singularity?

A. Those who wished to marry, but who could not find suitable partners.

B. Those who did not wish to marry and who felt most happy living in the world rather than pursuing religious life.

Separated and divorced

Those who have been abandoned by their spouse.

Some may be able to gain a Declaration of Nullity and be free to seek marriage.

Others are bound by their vows to a life of celibacy, so long as they remain separated from their spouse.

The widowed

Those whose spouse has died.

In the New Testament church, widows had a special status.

Dedicated Widows of the Holy Eucharist.

Holy Spouses in Holy Families

The Church is not complete without husbands and wives who love each other chastely in marriage and who desire to create a holy family.

Louis and Zélie Guérin, the parents of St. Thérèse of Lisieux, were great saints themselves. They had nine children of their own after acting as foster-parents for a boy in need. All five of their daughters who lived to be adults became nuns.

Our age is very much in need of such married saints, men and women who will demonstrate the beauty of the sacrament of marriage.

For the Western Catholic Church, the only source for vocations to the priesthood and religious life is from families. The more that husbands and wives practice the faith in their special vocation, the more they can nurture the vocations of their children.

When John XXIII was ordained a bishop, he held out his ring for his mother to kiss. She slapped his hand and held up her wedding ring for him to kiss instead, saying, "If I didn't have this ring, you wouldn't have that one."

Marriage is a vocation that cultivates vocations.

Stalker: My vocation is to lead people to marrige, but not to enter in myself.

Consecrated matrimony--sacramental marriage--goes beyond merely natural intimacy. Marriage is a natural attraction that doesn't need a lot of advertising to draw people to it. But evangelical marriage is a vocation. People who are animated by the Holy Spirit, saints, embody and show forth the relationship between Christ and the Church. A light shining in darkness--that's a vocation!

Lay associations and institutes

Religious brothers and sisters

Consecrated virgins, hermits, and widows

John Paul II, Vita consecrata.
The Order of Virgins; hermits and widows
7. It is a source of joy and hope to witness in our time a new flowering of the ancient Order of Virgins, known in Christian communities ever since apostolic times.Consecrated by the diocesan Bishop, these women acquire a particular link with the Church, which they are committed to serve while remaining in the world. Either alone or in association with others, they constitute a special eschatological image of the Heavenly Bride and of the life to come, when the Church will at last fully live her love for Christ the Bridegroom.
Men and women hermits, belonging to ancient Orders or new Institutes, or being directly dependent on the Bishop, bear witness to the passing nature of the present age by their inward and outward separation from the world. By fasting and penance, they show that man does not live by bread alone but by the word of God (cf. Mt 4:4). Such a life "in the desert" is an invitation to their contemporaries and to the ecclesial community itself never to lose sight of the supreme vocation, which is to be always with the Lord. Again being practiced today is the consecration of widows, known since apostolic times (cf. 1 Tim 5:5, 9-10; 1 Cor 7:8), as well as the consecration of widowers. These women and men, through a vow of perpetual chastity as a sign of the Kingdom of God, consecrate their state of life in order to devote themselves to prayer and the service of the Church.

Catechism

#922
From apostolic times Christian virgins461 and widows,[2] called by the Lord to cling only to him with greater freedom of heart, body, and spirit, have decided with the Church's approval to live in the respective status of virginity or perpetual chastity "for the sake of the Kingdom of heaven."[3]
#923
"Virgins who, committed to the holy plan of following Christ more closely, are consecrated to God by the diocesan bishop according to the approved liturgical rite, are betrothed mystically to Christ, the Son of God, and are dedicated to the service of the Church."[4] By this solemn rite (Consecratio virginum), the virgin is "constituted . . . a sacred person, a transcendent sign of the Church's love for Christ, and an eschatological image of this heavenly Bride of Christ and of the life to come."[5]
#924
"As with other forms of consecrated life," the order of virgins establishes the woman living in the world (or the nun) in prayer, penance, service of her brethren, and apostolic activity, according to the state of life and spiritual gifts given to her.[6] Consecrated virgins can form themselves into associations to observe their commitment more faithfully.[7]
#933
Whether their witness is public, as in the religious state, or less public, or even secret, Christ's coming remains for all those consecrated both the origin and rising sun of their life:
For the People of God has here no lasting city, . . . [and this state] reveals more clearly to all believers the heavenly goods which are already present in this age, witnessing to the new and eternal life which we have acquired through the redemptive work of Christ and preluding our future resurrection and the glory of the heavenly kingdom.[8]

Holy Orders

"I will appoint over you shepherds after my own heart, who will shepherd you wisely and prudently" (Jer 3:15).

"Every young Catholic man should ask himself whether God is calling him to the priesthood" (Fr. Jacob on "Catholic Answers Live," 10 January 2011).

Avocations

References

  1. CCC #826, slightly modified from the Knox translation.
  2. Cf. John Paul II, Vita consecrata 7.
  3. Mt 19:12.
  4. CIC, can. 604 § 1.
  5. CIC, can. 604 § 1.
  6. Cf. CIC, can. 604 § 1; OCV Praenotanda 2.
  7. Cf. CIC, can. 604 § 2.
  8. LG 44 § 3.

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