And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men”
What is meant "vocation"?
The word vocation derives from the Latin vocare, which means "to call", thus conferring or strengthening someone's identity through the attribution of a role (in this case, in the Church). In a broader sense, the concept of vocation goes beyond the reference to the call to be a priest, nun, friar, consecrated lay person, etc. Every baptized person has a vocation - a call - to love and serve God, to live his being his "king", "prophet" and "priest". How we want or choose to live this vocation is what everyone is called to discern. Some feel called to live as lay people, single or married; others choose the consecrated life and join a religious community as nuns, friars or presbyters; still others choose to be at the service of the world and of the Church as priests and deacons.
What are the vocation signs? How and based on what can I make discernment?
The first criterion of discernment is the deep and authentic DESIRE, without further unscrupulous purposes for a specific lifestyle and role. Some people choose a lifestyle because they feel obligated or, somehow, consciously or not, bound; others because it is convenient, others still because, unconsciously, they need a context in which they are at the center of attention, for which they choose an ordained ministry for reasons that have nothing to do with what we call "vocation". At the same time, there are people who may be ignoring a call from God due to family, professional obligations, responsibilities that they feel are looming, sexual orientation, family or social pressure, etc. When God calls you to something, God puts a desire within you. Responding to a vocation is to listen to the deepest desire that the Creator has lovingly sown in your heart since the beginning of time.
Another fundamental criterion of vocational discernment is the ABILITY to fulfill the responsibilities of that state of life to which you think you are called. It doesn't mean you have to be perfect, of course. If you feel that the Lord has not given you the necessary talents or you are constantly under pressure and cannot meet the normal demands when exploring this lifestyle, you should discern another lifestyle and see if it might be more suitable.
Consider the gifts and talents that have been given to you by God and discern how God is guiding you to use them.
Since you have been asking yourself about God's call, do you see signs of personal GROWTH and inner evolution in your existence? If you are stagnant and in a rut, centered only on your needs, then it may be the right time for a makeover or to give a new direction to your life. Obviusly this should not be confused with running away from one's duties if and when a commitment becomes routine and, therefore, boredom sets in. Growing up means giving a deeper meaning to your life choice and becoming more and more a reflection of your true self. Integrating your state's personal needs and responsibilities is a sign of growth.
Did you have a CALL from God and your brothers and sisters? This is an inner sign that you know you haven't thought of. This is the feeling that "this is God's idea, not mine".
Do you recognize the EVENTS in your life as fitting into a pattern and indicating a certain lifestyle choice? Do circumstances continue to guide you in a certain direction?
Do you feel PEACE interiorly when you think about the decision to make, even if even if there is tension around you??
Do you feel conflicts and DOUBTS stirring within you? Anyone who is afraid to question themselves may be looking for security rather than a life choice that has uncertainties. Every lifestyle has potential unknowns within it. If you have any doubts, it doesn't necessarily mean that you are wrong about your vocation. It could mean that you fully understand the depth of commitment your vocation requires. By persevering, even and despite conflicts and doubts, you will better understand God's plan for you.
Are you SCARED? When you live as if you are in control, you are no longer afraid. When God drew near to Moses and Mary, they were both afraid. The angel said to Mary: "Do not be afraid". Let God take your life. When you let go of fear, then yes you can be open to embrace all that God has to offer you.
Every vocation in life needs some fundamental human qualities. Being called, available, capable of dedication, capable of carrying out the required commitment and altruistic: these are just some of the precious characteristics for which we should strive, regardless of the lifestyle we have chosen. No particular vocation - or choice of life - automatically makes us holy and complete persons.
Do you feel called to the religious life?
In Italy, our Communion includes an Ecumenical Carmelite Fraternity, Benedictine movement, Monks of the Hermitage of the leaves (Legnago), Progressive Celtic fraternity.
For a discernment regarding the religious life, you can contact: IAECpalermo@libero.it
Do you feel called to the ordained ministry (priest or deacon)?
To undertake a path of discernment, you can contact our Bishop directly: email@example.com