What's my vocation? Dear 17 year old me...

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Recently we celebrated World Day of Prayer for Vocations. Late again, but hopefully you said a prayer for me anyway! What is vocation? It comes from the Latinto call. It’s not just the vocation to the priesthood – we all have a one!

Last night, I got to tell my story for the umpteenth time. It’s funny, I don’t get tired of repeating. Not just because I get to talk about myself – finding happiness and fulfillment is what’s most important to everyone.

Two fellow seminarians and I went to dinner with a wonderful couple from Idaho. Before the appetizers reached the table, Br. James was well along in recounting his vocation story, and Br. Andrew didn’t stop until we had finished our pasta. His was already cold.

Then it was my turn! Just that morning, I was thinking about what a vocation really is. But wait a second, let’s back up a bit…

What’s World Day of Prayer for Vocations?
 It’s a special day set aside by the pope to pray for vocations to the priesthood, like Christ’s asks in the Gospel but also for all vocations in general. Here are some great quotes from Benedict:

[L]ove is limitless and precedes us, sustains us and calls us along the path of life, a love rooted in an absolutely free gift of God. Speaking particularly of the ministerial priesthood, my predecessor, Blessed John Paul II, stated that “every ministerial action – while it leads to loving and serving the Church – provides an incentive to grow in ever greater love and service of Jesus Christ the head, shepherd and spouse of the Church, a love which is always a response to the free and unsolicited love of God in Christ”.

Every specific vocation is in fact born of the initiative of God; it is a gift of the Love of God! He is the One who takes the “first step”, and not because he has found something good in us, but because of the presence of his own love “poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit” (Rom 5:5).

We need to open our lives to this love. It is to the perfection of the Father’s love (cf. Mt 5:48) that Jesus Christ calls us every day! The high standard of the Christian life consists in loving “as” God loves; with a love that is shown in the total, faithful and fruitful gift of self.

What do we mean by vocation?

We were all made to leave our mark. We’re called to be happy. We’re called to know God and help others. So what’s your story? Here are a couple you will enjoy. Br. Andrew’s is actually one of them.

What’s my vocation?

Back to my thoughts at dinner last night. That morning, I read the Gospel of the Good Shepherd. I found the vocation had three important parts.

1. The sheep know his voice.

If we want to respond to any vocation, we have to be able to hear the call. Silence is a must in today’s clamor. Here are some thoughts on our need for silence: Silence: iNoise and the Battle for our Soul.

2. He call’s us by name.

We each have a unique vocation, and we’ve got to listen carefully to figure it out. I reflected on that a couple weeks ago: What to do with our lives.

3. He leads us out.

It’s a call that demands we leave the comfort zone of the sheepfold, that we go out into the world fighting for Christ and spreading his love to those around us. So how do we really love? What is love? Two easy steps.

What’s your story? Comment or email me. Share the post, and I pray that you figure out God’s plan for your happiness and fulfillment – vocation.

Copyright 2012 Br. Mark Thelen, L.C.

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