The word vocation comes from the Latin word “vocare,” meaning to call or summon.
In regular English usage, the word vocation is used to refer to our job, or a career. In the Church it refers to a call from God.
The Bible records many different ways God calls people to be something, do something, or go somewhere, for example:
- Mary was called to be the mother of Jesus, Son of God and Savior.
- Mary Magdalene was called to do something, to tell the apostles about the resurrection.
- Paul was called to go around the world, teaching about Jesus and the Gospel.
Some think that vocation refers to God’s call to priesthood or religious life, and so, as that’s not for them, they tune out. But everyone has four calls from God:
- To enjoy heaven;
- To grow in holiness;
- To help continue the mission of Jesus in the ministries of the Catholic Church;
- And to live in a particular state of life – single life or marriage, religious life or priesthood in the Archdiocese of Dubuque.
Of those calls, state of life is most important: it affects how we make our way to heaven, how we practice holiness, and how we support Church mission.
But most importantly, our state of life identifies for whom we live to give, with whom we live a shared life of self-gift in service.
That’s why Pope Francis says that the real question is not who am I, but for whom am I?
We have a vocation, or vocations, calls from God, who waits for us to respond. Will you say “yes” to God?