Vocation: The calling or destiny we have in this life and hereafter. God has created the human person to love and serve him; the fulfillment of this vocation is eternal happiness (CCC 1, 358, 1700). Christ calls the faithful to the perfection of holiness (CCC 825). The vocation of the laity consists in seeking the Kingdom of God by engaging in temporal affairs and directing them according to God’s will (CCC 898). Priestly and religious vocations are dedicated to the service of the Church as the universal sacrament of salvation (cf. CCC 873; 931).
We are all called to pursue holiness of life. All of us do this when we live up to the commands of Christ to “love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind… [and to] love your neighbor as yourself” (Mt. 22:37). We fulfill these commands when we grow in our relationship with God, bring others into a closer relationship with Him, and when we serve those in our community with generosity of spirit. Our path towards holiness begins with our entrance into the Christian community through baptism, and is reaffirmed and reinforce by the subsequent sacraments. However, not all paths to holiness are the same. The fullest realization of God’s plan for our lives comes when we take the time to listen and discern what role we play individually in the big picture. There are those called to bless others through the single life, and those called to be sacramentally bound to another, working together within the married life. For some, holiness is living the vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience within the consecrated religious life; and for a few, that call asks them to conform their lives even more closely to Christ as an ordained priest. Each person’s gifts in this world are different; each person has a different purpose in this life. Each vocation is the means by which that purpose is fulfilled; the means by which we love our God and love others, serve others, and draw others closer to that same God. With prayerful discernment and fulfillment of our one desire to “be holy because I am holy” (1 Pt. 1:16, Lv. 11:44).
A Prayer for Vocations to the Priesthood:
O Lord, my God, You renew the Church in every age by raising up priests outstanding in holiness, and a living witnesses of Your unchanging Love. In Your Plan for our salvation You provide shepherds for Your people.
Fill the hearts of young men with the spirit of courage and love that they may answer Your call generously. Give parents the grace to encourage vocations in their family by prayer and good example. Raise up worthy and ardent priests for Your Altars. Give the Church more priests and keep them faithful in their love and service. May many young men choose to serve You by devoting themselves to the service of Your people. We make this prayer through Christ our Lord. Amen.