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What is a Vocation?

Your vocation is NOT the same as your profession, job, or career.  These can certainly help you along the way, but these are worldly/horizontal elements of this life.  Your vocation deals more with the concerns of the “vertical” aspects, which deals with your relationship with God and what God is calling us to do.

The Catholic Church believes in a one universal vocation or call given to us at our baptism.  That universal vocation is a call to holiness........

With the graces of God and a discerning heart, we can all follow this baptismal vocation.  With the example of Jesus and the promptings of the Holy Spirit to guide us, we can live on the path that leads us to holiness.

The Catholic Church also recognizes four paths to this ultimate vocation.  These are what we more frequently recognize as "particular vocations.”  These paths include Priesthood, Married Life, Religious Life, and Single Life.  Each is a valid choice for one seeking the heart of God in their life and their particular path within the communal nature of this world.

With good discernment one can more succesfully find the particular vocation suited to them in their journey to holiness. 




What's My Vocation?

“What should I do with my life?” It’s a question on many hearts, maybe even our own. In this video, Father Mike Schmitz gives some direction that can lead to an answer for ourselves or someone we know. He shares how a vocation is more than just figuring out whether we’re called to married life or religious life, and it’s about more than just finding out what we like to do. As he breaks down three different types of vocation we all have, he draws a practical path we can follow to pursue holiness.


 The process of determining your vocation is called DISCERNMENT. As most of us are not given an envelope at the beginning of our lives with a plan laid out for us as to how to live our Vocation of Holiness, we must figure this out as we go.

Discernment can be different for each individual. It is a very big decision; not like picking your clothes for the day or what flavor ice cream you will enjoy. It is a life decision that ought to take some time.

It is encouraged that these elements be a part of your discernment process:

This is always a good place to start.  Ask God to open your heart to God’s will and the guidance of the Holy Spirit.  Spending time in quiet contemplation (maybe even before the Blessed Sacrament) in essential for being able to learn and understand the voice of God in your life.  This is so very important and will take some time.

One way of hearing and seeing God work in our lives is through participating in the Sacraments, especially regular participation in the Eucharist and Reconciliation.

Information is crucial to making a good decision.  Be sure that the information you receive is from a valued and reliable source.  Weigh out the information you receive and bring it all to prayer as you move through the discernment process. One great help with spiritual perspective is to find a spiritual director to guide you in your discernment process.

Time away is a good thing also.  A retreat (or even just getting away from the everyday busy-ness of life) can be invaluable as you try to discern what to do in your life.  To be able to sit quietly with God, with information you have acquired, with your own thoughts and feelings and without constant interruptions will serve you well in discernment.

Service in your community and liturgy is a great way to spend time with God and a great way to help you learn God’s voice.  Active involvement in your Church community can also bring to your life valuable people you can use for support, information, and prayer as you further your discernment process.

Mary is the ultimate example of an openness to the will of God.  Ask for her intercessions as you also open your heart to God’s will for your life.

Just remember – where God calls you,
God will support you
for you are a Beloved Child


Understanding Discernment

Articles and resources to help in your discernment journey
How to Listen to the Spirit in your Vocational Discernment
Blessed is She is a wonderful website for Catholic Women Sprituality with blogs, articles, and daily devotions. 




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noun         /vōˈkāSH(ə)n/ 
from the Latin word "vocare" meaning to call

1.     A divine call to God's service or to the Christian life

2.    A function or station in life to which one is called by God: the religious vocation; the vocation of marriage.


Prayer for Discernment of a Vocation
what is the life you are calling me to live?
Who is it that you are calling me to be?
There seems to be so many answers,
yet I know
that you have laid out a path for me. 
Send your Spirit to guide me as I discern your path. 
Help me listen to your voice in the stillness of my heart
amid the many distractions and temptations of life.
Help me understand and sees
the gifts and talents you have given me,
not as the world see them but as you do. 
Give me the strength to listen to you intently,
and to follow your path courageously.


By Brian Ching, C.S.C.
 (found in the Notre Dame Book of Prayer)
When God Calls (prayer)
Miraculous, the moment
When God calls us to His breast,
Although we may be unaware
How truly we’ve been blessed.
We may not understand that God
Is calling us to Him,
Yet clearly we are moved to know
A change occurred within.
An inner voice we know not ours,
Or longing unfulfilled,
Will lead us to obey and yet
We ask, is this Your will?
As joyfully we do His work,
“Tis then we understand
That wondrous message from the Lord
Was truly His command.

By Janis Miner

Prayer for Personal Vocation
My Lord and my God,
You have formed my inmost being,
and you have made plans to give me a future full of hope. 
And so I pray:
grant me the vision to perceive the gifts and talents you have given me,
the hearing to discern your call for me,
and above all a heart that trusts in your loving Providence. 
May I follow your will for my life, which is my hope.
Grant that all people may discover and love their vocation to love in their work in the world and amongst their families and friends.  Grant especially that men and women may answer the call to serve you
and to serve the world as vowed religious and as priests. 
O God who has formed me and given me a future full of hope, continue to form and guide me, as you form and guide all people.
By Michael Seidl, C.S.C
 (found in the Notre Dame Book of Prayer)