Many of us wonder, “Do I have a purpose?”. The answer is yes! Many of us may wonder in our lives why we are here. According to the Catholic Church, each human being is called to love and serve God and neighbor, not only in this life, but in the next. And in doing so, we are all called towards holiness.
Finding Your Path
But how do we get there? How do we attain holiness in our universal call to serve God and neighbor? All of us have a specific vocation from God, or the way that God specifically calls each individual person to live his or her life. For the most part, there are a few main ways or vocations that God calls a person to live. These typically are married life, single celibacy, the priesthood, or consecrated life (as a religious brother or sister, for instance).
And, as callings from God, all of these vocations are not only unique, but are all beautiful and good ways of life. As a call from God, a vocation is not like a profession, in which one just signs up for it, or just tries it out for fun. Everyone’s call is ultimately the best way that God sees fit for a person to grow in holiness and enter heaven. And so, it is everyone’s job then, to figure out or discern which vocation a person is called to follow in his or her life.
Anxieties and Fears
At times, this discernment of one’s vocation can seem difficult or scary. We may feel like we may be taking the wrong move by choosing one vocation over another. The good thing is that God understands this, and knows we are human beings who need clear direction. That is one reason why God, in His wisdom, has given us various, tangible gifts in our Church, such as the Sacraments, because they provide us with physical means to encounter the living God who is immaterial and not bound by space or time. In regards to discerning one’s vocation, God also can direct us to our vocation through physical means, i.e. through verbal encouragement by our families, friends, and priests or religious, through the emotions and desires that God places in our hearts, and through our real life experiences through dating and retreats.
That being said, it is important, as we discern our vocation, that we have the courage to take a step into a vocation with faith. If we feel that God may be calling us towards marriage, we need to cultivate a virtuous and faithful heart in which we can give of ourselves completely to another of the opposite sex, being willing to not only be a father and husband, but also being willing to sacrifice ourselves for our families. Having the courage to ask a special person on a date, and living out virtue as if one were in a committed relationship is key.
And, on the other hand, if we feel that God may be calling us towards religious life or the priesthood, we also need to cultivate a virtuous and faithful heart in which we can give our ourselves completely to God and to His Church, being willing to minister and pray for the Church, and sacrificing ourselves daily. Having the courage to go on a “Come and See” Retreat, visit a friary, and engage in apostolic works of the Church like feeding the homeless, is important.
And so, if you may be feeling called possibly to religious life and/or the priesthood, we invite you to take that next step forward and come to a discernment retreat. “Come and See” just for a few days what it is like to live like a religious or priest without any long term commitment. What is there to lose? On the contrary, there is a lot to gain, and this step can help you to figure out what God is specifically calling you to do to not only serve Him and others in this life, but also help you attain holiness and get to our goal some day: the heavenly banquet. Please, click here to sign up for our next “Come and See” Retreat today!
– Father Victor Taglinetti, OFM CAP | Vocations Director