Question: Can you explain what we mean by a vocation or calling? I have heard this term used in many different contexts and am not sure what it means. Does it apply to religious life?
Answer: A vocation or calling refers to a spiritual experience whereby a person senses within oneself the closeness of God and what he is asking in one’s life. It is a realization of what one’s part in God’s plan could be. Vocation comes in all kinds of ways. Some are as dramatic as St. Paul’s, being knocked off his horse, blinded, and hearing God’s voice. Others are less dramatic, often occurring over time through little events and personal interests. Others happen in a hurry, accompanied by great spiritual insight or conversion. We often think that this applies to religious vocation, but in fact, every Christian has a vocation, a calling to serve others in and through the Church. Whether married or single, religious or lay, we are all called to live out our baptismal commitment to preach and teach the Gospel message. Each of us has our role to play in God’s plan, and we become coworkers with God in the work of redemption. With a little confidence, a willing spirit, and God’s grace, we can and will respond to his unique call.