Am I Called or Not?

Archbishop O'Malley on the process for discerning your vocation.

bell towerSome think “the call” has to be dramatic. Yet most vocations reveal themselves in a slowly growing awareness of the desire to serve God. That desire to serve God needs to be tested.

"Why do I want to become a priest, a brother, or a nun? is an important question. Each time we pray the Lord’s Prayer we say the words, “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done.” But sometimes what we really mean is, “My kingdom come, my will be done.”
It takes great faith to really believe that what God wants is truly best for us.

Embracing God’s will presupposes that we know God and God’s love. Sometimes people feel called to a vocation but fear that it is too challenging and that they will fail to live out their commitment. We need to trust that if God gives us a vocation, God will also give us the strength we need.

The discernment process must take place in the context of a life of prayer and growth in virtue. Spiritual direction, the sacraments, the life of the parish, and works of service in the community of faith are part of the path that leads us to acknowledge God’s will and our own inner voice.

Sometimes when discerning a vocation we are afraid to make a commitment. A life without commitments is a life adrift in the high seas of fads and impulses, peer pressure and rebellion. Commitment brings direction, purpose to one’s life. To a believer, commitments are based on our baptismal faith and trust in God. A sense of vocation and mission is essential for us.

—Excerpted from O'Malley's pastoral letter, Vocations: Everybody's Business

Your turn:

  • What fears do you have?
  • Does it seem impossible to you to make a commitment for your whole life?

The "slow" saint

No one thought much of him. He was considered “slow,” useless. Only a priest recognized the goodness in him and encouraged and supported him until he could become a priest.

In a small French town St. John Vianney started his work simply and quietly and eventually was known as the “holy priest of Ars.” St. John became so popular that when he heard Confessions, he sometimes had to be in the confessional for 14 hours straight.

  • Do you think that to be good you need lots of intelligence?
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