Vocation comes from the word ‘vocare’ which means ‘to call.’ It refers not to that which we really want to do or feel suited or qualified for, but to that which the Lord is inviting us to enter into.
There are three levels of vocation:
- The call to holiness that we have all received (see Lumen Gentium Chapter 5)
- The call to married life or celibacy for the kingdom
- A particular career or profession
- Prayer- this is the most important element of discernment. We need to learn to be interiorly silent and docile, to be able to listen and respond to the voice of God. This involves making prayer a priority and learning the art of prayer. If we can learn to be present with God each moment, we will not miss His call when He invites us to step out of the boat. Receiving the Sacraments regularly is also essential.
- Finding a Spiritual Director who can help us discern the movements of the Spirit. We are on a personal journey which no one can walk for us, but speaking to a wise and holy counsellor who knows us, can help us to see our blind spots and open ourselves to new possibilities, in addition to receiving support and encouragement.
- Reading more about the process of discernment. There is a great deal of information on the internet that can help you learn how to discern the voice of God from your own desires and those of others who are close to you. Consider speaking with others who are at a similar stage of discernment to share your hopes and fears etc.
- Read about different vocations. It is important to explore the Churches teaching on married life and consecrated life; what is involved in each of these, what has been our experience and attitude towards both.
- Visit communities to experience their charism and work in order to experience if you feel at home and drawn to the people and mission of the community. It can also be helpful to read about the founder/foundress and learn more about the particular charism or gift that the community offers to the Church.