One of the best kept secrets

Fr Philip Marshall.jpg

'The dawning of this new century presents us with the challenge of continuing to foster a new (actually very old) understanding of vocation, one that was prevalent in the early Christian community but faded over the centuries. Many of our Catholic adults today remain blissfully unaware, firstly, that they actually have a vocation, and secondly, that they can play a vital role in assisting young people to choose the vocational lifestyle that will help them develop to their fullest potential.

Our English word "vocation" comes from the Latin "vocatio" which means "calling". For the greater part of the 20th century, there was a widely held perception that only priests, religious brothers and sisters had a "vocation", and that their lives were more favoured in God’s eyes than those who did not have a calling. This narrow understanding of "vocation" was reviewed and addressed during the Second Vatican Council, which reinstated the vocational theology of the early Christian community.

Until the early 1990s this was one of the Vatican Council’s "best kept secrets". The secret is now out, and the good news continues to spread. Today growing numbers of people recognise and celebrate that everyone has a vocation.

"Vocation" must be understood in the context of baptism. Our Christian calling is the consequence and the challenge of our baptism. Through baptism, all of us are called by God to become disciples of Jesus, discovering, developing and sharing our gifts and resources with others, as we work together to make a difference in our local and global communities.

God’s call is always an invitation to "Choose Life" (Deut.30.13). God calls most people to "choose life" within the vocation of marriage. Others are called to "choose life" through the single vocation, while others are called to "choose life" as sisters, brothers and priests.' 

Sr Mary Ryan RSJ, Executive Officer, Catholic Vocations Ministry Australia.

Vocation is a term which affirms the Christian vocation of every baptised person. We are all called to be committed followers of Jesus, who calls all of us to develop to our fullest potential, in order that we may be empowered to share our own individual gifts, talents, abilities and blessings as fully as possible, for the sake of  others.

Catholic Vocations Ministry Australia