Every baptized person is called to live out a vocation as either a single, married, consecrated or ordained person in order to grow in holiness here on earth and lead to our eternal happiness. This type of vocation is more than your job or your career, it is your calling from God and your means to love and serve Him to the fullest.
Your vocation deserves much thought, care, and consideration. It is something you should pray about and contemplate in front of the Eucharist. We have created a quiz in order to help you in your discernment process. Click the Let’s Play button to get started.
Everyone will live as a single at some point in their lives, many do so while waiting to prepare for their vocation in marriage, religious life or ordination. It is a special time in one’s life which presents great opportunities to serve and to grow spiritually. The actual “calling” to remain single as a vocation is very rare (properly speaking, the Church never refers to the single status as a vocation), and it must include a formal consecration to God and a lifelong commitment to celibacy while remaining a single lay person (there is an ancient tradition of virgins who consecrated their lives to service). There are other cases such as those who have serious and habitual difficulties engaging community settings or those with strongly deep-seated homosexual tendencies who are also called to live a single life.
In general, however, the Church seems to consider the single status as one of passage, that is, a stage that leads you to respond to the vocations properly speaking. Undoubtedly, there are many Catholics who have remained single and lived and continue to live out holy, generous lives. God works in mysterious ways and the idea here is not to criticize or put into question the decisions that some have made in good conscience, please take these as general considerations and always recommend speaking with a spiritual director to be guide you.
For more information, we suggest taking a look here.
Married people are called by God to love their spouse and help him or her get to heaven. If they are blessed with children, the married person is asked to raise their children in the Church and to teach them about the love of God. The family unit is a domestic church and modeled after the Holy Trinity. Those who are called to marriage make a commitment to God and their spouse that is not to be broken.
“To maintain a joyful family requires much from both the parents and the children. Each member of the family has to become, in a special way, the servant of the others” – Saint John Paul II
Those called to the consecrated life make a promise to dedicate their lives to the love and service of God throughout their lives. These included both religious Sisters and Brothers. They live in a community and follow the guidelines of that apostolate. Most called to the consecrated life will make vows of chastity, poverty and obedience. There are many different communities of religious from those that spend time in prayer to those that spend time with the poor. Truly, there is a community for every type of personality.
“The state of consecrated life is thus one way of experiencing a ‘more intimate’ consecration, rooted in Baptism and dedicated totally to God. In the consecrated life, Christ’s faithful, moved by the Holy Spirit, propose to follow Christ more nearly, to give themselves to God who is loved above all and, pursuing the perfection of charity in the service of the Kingdom, to signify and proclaim in the Church the glory of the world to come.” – Catechism of the Catholic Church 915
Those who have this vocation will receive the Sacrament of Holy Orders. “This sacrament configures the recipient to Christ by a special grace of the Holy Spirit, so that he may serve as Christ’s instrument for his Church. By ordination one is enabled to act as a representative of Christ, Head of the Church, in his triple office of priest, prophet, and king” (Catechism of the Catholic Church 1581). Those priests belonging to a religious order make vows of chastity, obedience, and poverty. A diocesan priest makes vows of celibacy and obedience.
“Our vocation is to go and enflame the heart of men, to do what the Son of God did, He who brought fire into the world to set it alight with His love. What else can we wish for, than for it to burn and consume all things? Thus it is true that I have been sent not only to love God, but also to make men love Him.” – St. Vincent de Paul
Men who are called to the priesthood who are in the final stage of formation before being ordained as priests. They receive the Sacrament of Holy Orders and usually serve as deacons for one year before ordination to the priesthood. During their year as a deacon they continue their studies and serve in parish assignments.
A degree of the Sacrament of Holy Orders, after bishop and priest. The permanent deacon is ordained for ministry, but not to the priesthood. He assists and preaches at Mass, baptizes and presides at weddings and funerals. They have jobs outside the Church to make a living. Men at least 35 years of age, married or single, may be ordained permanent deacons.
Looking to dive deeper into discerning your vocation? Lighthouse Media offers a DVD series, CALLED: Discover Your Vocation, a 5 session program commissioned by the National Conference of Diocesan Vocation Directors. In addition, if you are particularly interested in the vocation to priesthood, check out Bridge to Eternity — a great, free video retreat offered by RCSpirituality.org. And, couples discerning marriage won’t want to miss The Choice Wine: 7 Steps to a Superabundant Marriage, offered by Paradisus Dei.
Lord, there are so many things in my life that I do not understand,
so many questions about the future that I need to ask.
What is Your plan for me?
What is the work You want me to do?
All I really know is that You love me.
Show me the road You want me to walk –
to fulfillment, to happiness, to holiness.
And if You are calling me to
priesthood or to the religious life, give me the strength to say “yes”
and the grace to begin even now
to prepare myself for the challenge
of a life spent in Your service and
in the care of Your people.
I ask You this in Jesus’ Name.
Theodore Cardinal McCarrick
Archbishop Emeritus of Washington
(taken from United States Conference of Catholic Bishops website)
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