We are used to thinking of “vocation” in terms of a job or trade, but it’s broader than that. A vocation is a personal life calling — how you best fulfill yourself within this world and in so doing, contribute to the common good.
Frederick Buechner puts it beautifully when he says, “Vocation is where your deep gladness meets the world’s deep hunger.” We experience our deepest gladness when we are living our call to holiness.
A vocation in the Catholic Church is a particular call within the baptismal call to holiness. These vocations include single life, married life, consecrated life, and priesthood.
What is a vocation to consecrated life?
A person in consecrated life commits herself to God in service to the world. A Sister of the Precious Blood commits herself to God and to her community by making lifetime vows of poverty, celibacy, and obedience.
How does someone know if they have a vocation to consecrated life?
Knowing if you are called to religious life can be as subtle as the “still small voice” that Elijah heard outside the cave before he met face to face with God (1 Kings 19: 10-12), or as dramatic as Paul getting knocked off his proverbial horse on his way to persecute the followers of Jesus known as “Christians” (Acts 9: 3-9). Sometimes the call is manifested in a sense of excitement when doing service with and for others. Sometimes it is the longing for union with God that may occur when receiving the Eucharist. For some, the call is the disappointment that the things others are interested in — a high-paying job, a nice home, the newest car or computer — don’t quite fill the bill; don’t really satisfy. Sometimes the call is manifested in the encouragement and affirmation of others; when your simple way of living, your generous service, or your kind acceptance of somebody that no one else wants to be around is recognized.