VOCATION - Derives from Latin infinitive VOCARE, to call; includes VOX, voice. The caller is God, our creator; the voice is that of the Holy Spirit.
Everyone has a special call from God
First: a person is called for a special purpose, namely: to live as a single person, married person, religious professed person or ordained person.
Second: the person who is called has a special gift. This is not the same as skill, talent, aptitude. By living the call, one's special gift is revealed to him/her.
Third: the call may come from within (from God, Yahweh, Jesus, Spirit), or from another person (such as the bishop calling the candidate for priesthood to step forward), or from one who sees a person as well-suited or a likely candidate to follow a specific life.
Fourth: accepting a vocation leads to a choice of a particular lifestyle and this option means the sacrifice of the other lifestyles. Accepting a call means making a commitment to its fulfillment. “Freedom” comes in the exercising of the power to choose, thus creating meaningfulness and the ability to commit.
Some areas of darkness and uncertainty are most often subjects for prayer and deepening of faith. Vocation demands life-ordering discipline to ensure responsiveness; also silence in order to hear clearly the caller's message.
Discerning one's vocation relies on a process quite different from choosing a profession. A vocation must be heard or felt with passion. This passion must be confirmed first by oneself. Second, it needs to match one's gifts. And finally, it needs to be confirmed by a community of others or by a mentor. This final step helps preclude mistaking a personal compulsion with a genuine vocation.
(Gleaned from an article in AMERICA magazine, 7-8-02, “Vocation Education” by James VanOosting. Reprinted with permission of America Press, Inc. © 2002 All Rights Reserved. For subscription information, visit www.americamagazine.org)
If you are trying to make a decision and want to know which option is more in line with God's dream for you, try the discernment of spirits. You ask God to give you light, to help you to make a decision in tune with God's hopes. Then you try to imagine yourself taking each of the options. The option that gives you more peace, joy, hope, and trust is probably the one that fits God's dream best.