The discernment of one’s vocation may be the most important duty of each Christian. The vocation is a divine call from God that requires an informed and free response. Our greatest example from scripture is the Blessed Mother’s fiat in response to the angel Gabriel. “Behold the handmaid of the Lord: be it done to me according to your word” (Luke 1:28). What are the consequences if Mary would have said “no”?
There are many objects that give a person pleasure without the joy. Some people desire to be famous, drive fast cars, or make lots of money. The pursuit of these things may give a temporary happiness but will leave a person empty. We have a natural desire to be happy and there is only one who can fulfill this desire completely. God alone satisfies (St. Thomas Aquinas).
Many people misunderstand the role of a career as part of a vocation. A career as a doctor, lawyer, accountant, business manager, dental hygienist, or truck driver is not a vocation. The catechism states that there are four vocations within the life of the Church – priesthood, religious life, marriage, and the single life. The key to discerning your vocation is a strong prayer life and frequent participation in the sacraments like Mass or Penance.
If you feel a call to the priesthood then the best thing to do is to talk to the Vocation Director of the Diocese. Let’s face it – this is a big step. Quiet possibly, a discerning fellow thinks about the priesthood, prays about the priesthood, and maybe talks to one or two close friends about the priesthood. But to really figure out what the Lord is calling you to do, you need to talk to the Vocation Director of the Diocese.
The Vocation Director’s main job is to listen to your story and to help you to affirm and recognize what the Holy Spirit is doing in your life. He will help you to connect with a priest who will serve as your spiritual director, a person you can speak to on a regular basis and will assist you on this journey of discernment. His responsibility is to guide you through the application process, which is also a discernment process. Throughout the application process, the discerning fellow continues to ask the question “Am I called?”
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Pontifical North American College
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Mount St. Mary’s Seminary
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Office of Vocations 1311 Byron St. P.O. Box 230 Wheeling, WV 26003 Telephone: (304) 233-0880 ext. 442 Email: email@example.com