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What is a Vocation?
 

A vocation is a call from God inviting the soul to a certain path of Christian holiness. The vocation of the laity, according to the Second Vatican Council (Apostolicam Actuositatem), is a mission to give the faith they have received to the world through the “testimony of their Christian life.” Lay people are “to announce Christ by words.” Moreover, “motivated by Christian charity, they must act directly and in a definite way in the temporal sphere.” In a world thirsting for witnesses, Catholics are called not to be afraid, by knowing their faith and then communicating it with the coherence of their lives.

The attractiveness of the call to religious and consecrated life comes from encountering a Person, Jesus Christ, who invites a soul to the greatest adventure of love and self-giving in this world. This invitation to a very deep and personal relationship with Him and in service to His Church, is so strong and so convincing in the soul that it moves one to give up other things, even very good things, such as marriage, children, a career, and independence, in order to follow that call, just as John and James left everything one day when Christ walked past and invited them, saying, “Come and follow me.”

Vocational discernment, more than anything, is to place ourselves before Christ and freely offer to accept and do what He wants of us, believing that this is what will most fulfill us and make us happy. Fear is never part of a valid response, but rather freedom and trust in love. Prayer, sacramental life, apostolic action and spiritual direction, as well as generosity fostered in the family are the ordinary key elements to discovering God’s call and accepting it, and God often makes use of persons and circumstances to make His call known. Exposure to different forms of consecrated life through retreats and “Come and See” weekends are other helpful elements in the discernment of a possible vocation.

 
 
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