Am I called? Steps to figure it out

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So, what is a vocation?

The root word for vocation is "vocare," which is Latin for "to call." God has created each one of us for a particular calling or way to follow Him. Through the Sacrament of Baptism, we become a child of God and thus called to live in holiness through love of God and neighbor. It is important to also remember that our true vocation does not come from the world, but rather is an invitation directly from God to follow Him.

Our first or primary vocation is to live in holiness, or in other words, to become a saint! While this is a challenge for us all, it should be the goal of every baptized child of God.

Our particular vocation then becomes our state in life: priesthood, consecrated life, marriage, or single life.

Learning what our particular vocation will be requires a process we call discernment. It will be utilized at various stages in our lives, and God will use others to assist us in that process.

Do you have the courage to ask God the question that is seldom uttered in our busy world, "Lord, how are you calling me to follow You?"

"Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives, and the one who seeks, finds; and the one who knocks the door will be opened." -- Matthew 7:7-8

Defining vocation

A vocation is a call from God to live a certain way of life for God and His kingdom. The primary vocation of every person is to be holy! It is the divine calling to love and serve God, to obey His commandments, and to cooperate with Christ in the work of redemption by loving and serving others. But we are all called to a secondary vocation as well, a "state in life" in which we are to be holy and make others holy around us. God made you for a purpose and you belong to Him!

These vocations are priesthood, religious life, marriage, and the generous single life. Any vocation will include some type of sacrifice but will bring you the most satisfaction, fulfillment, and happiness, for you will be living the way God made you to live. Some of you were made to be a priest, don't be afraid, take courage! Be the man God has called you to be!

Some qualities of a priest

Man of Prayer

The priest is first and foremost a man of prayer. The priest lives "in persona Christi" (in the person of Christ) so his most important prayer is to represent the sacrifice of Jesus during Holy Mass. His parish relies on him to offer a sacrifice "holy and acceptable to God." Throughout the week, too, at parish meetings and community functions, he is often asked: "Father, will you lead us in prayer?" He is seen as a man who knows how to speak with God.

A priest spends each day in personal prayer through the Liturgy of the Hours and time in private meditation before the Blessed Sacrament. His private prayer is essential, for he must know Him of whom he speaks, teaches, and preaches; he must come to have an intimate relationship with Christ. The priest becomes "another Christ" for his people.

Preacher of the Word

Since the beginning of Christianity, people have come to Jesus through the preaching of the Word. Today, this remains a primary ministry of a priest. Because the majority of Catholics encounter the faith and receive their inspiration to practice it from the preaching of their parish priest, men who can articulate their knowledge and excitement about their faith are a great treasure to the Church. A priest's duty, then, is to teach his people how Christ's life is relevant to their own. He answers the question, "How can I live out my faith today?"

"The Church faces a particularly difficult task in her efforts to preach the word of God in all cultures in which the faithful are constantly challenged by consumerism and a pleasure-seeking mentality." -- St. John Paul II


A priest is not a priest for himself. The ordained priest shares in the mission of Jesus as priest, prophet, and king. As priest, he prays and celebrates the Eucharist. As prophet, he preaches and teaches the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and as king, he serves others.

At the Last Supper, Jesus gave the Eucharistic mandate to His apostles, "Do this in memory of me," but not before the Lord had knelt down and washed their feet. Jesus said, "What I have done for you, you must do for one another."

A priest must be a servant to God's people. He brings the love and strength of Christ into the parish, the school, the hospital room, the prison, the inner city . . . Wherever God's people are and especially wherever they suffer, the priest is there.

A couple definitions

Celibacy: The state of being unmarried, specifically for the sake of giving oneself full time to build the kingdom of God. This is a gift from God, to which a man must be called. Presently, to be called to the priesthood in the Latin Roman Catholic Church is also a call to celibacy.

Chastity: "The successful integration of sexuality within the person and thus the inner unity of man in his bodily and spiritual person and thus inner unity of man in his bodily and spiritual being." (Catechism of the Catholic Church #2337) Chastity is the virtue that moderates the desire for sexual pleasure according to the principles of faith and right reason. Priests, sisters, married persons, and single persons are called by God to chastity, to use their sexuality according to God's plan in their specific state in life.

"The requirement of celibacy is certainly one of the greatest sources of anxiety and fear in a man who is discerning priesthood. This is especially true in a sex-saturated society and culture. The message we receive from the media and culture is very clear: no person can be happy and fulfilled unless they are having a lot of sex. But this is simply not true."

"The good news is that God's grace can accomplish all things! With the power of Jesus' cross, a man can overcome sexual lust and live his life peacefully in his respective vocation. It can be done. It is possible. There is much evidence. For example, there are approximately four hundred thousand Catholic priests worldwide. The huge majority of these men at one time said these or similar words, "I can never become a priest because I like girls too much." Well, all four hundred thousand of them are priests now. God will never send us where His grace cannot sustain us."