The good news is that God has plans for us! Our interests and talents can lead us to the life that God has planned for us. Sometimes we ask youth the wrong question: “What do you want to be when you grow up?” A better question is, “What did God create you to be?” In short the answer is A SAINT! We were created to show forth the image and likeness of God (Gen. 1:26-27). We are not just good in God’s eyes, but very good! We have the capacity to know, love and serve God and—by His saving grace—to be happy with Him forever in Heaven. Part of God’s plan for us is our work (hobbies & job occupations), and we need to prayerfully discern that call (vocation) by listening to our hearts as well as the advice of trusted friends and family members. Another way in which we live out our baptismal call to holiness is by our state in life. We may actively seek to build up God’s Kingdom in the world as a layperson, either single or married. Or we may be called to dedicate our lives to Christ as clergy (deacons, priests or bishops of either diocesan ministry or religious orders) or consecrated men or women (monks, contemplatives, hermits, consecrated virgins, members of secular institutes, etc.). A helpful image of the array of possible vocations can be found at the Vocation Tree website.
Discerning our state in life requires prayer, attentive listening to our holy desires and willingness to listen to the wisdom of those who know us well. Plus, a little research doesn’t hurt either. It is hard to come to love something which you don’t know or understand. So here are a few web resources to consider. At Lansing Catholic, in addition to vocational discussions in the theology classes, we try to organize opportunities for students to become familiar with religious vocations, both for clergy and consecrated men & women. Each year we bring in vocation experts as well as arrange field trips to seminaries and religious institutions. And if a student wishes to know more about the various religious offerings in the Church, please contact the school chaplain and special arrangements will be made.
Here are a few helpful web resources to get started:
The vocation of the laity can be lived out when one is single (as St. Paul spoke about dedication to the Lord in I Cor. 7:32-35) or through marriage and family life. The USCCB is the United States Catholic Conference of Bishops, and the USCCB website has a number of vocational pages (see below).
For Your Marriage – resources and support for Catholic marriages.
Diocese of Lansing Vocation’s Page - There are some excellent resources here: lists of the men’s and women’s religious communities within our diocese (with web links), information on the permanent diaconate, priesthood discernment questions, vocations stories, and information on the seminaries used by the Lansing Diocese, etc.
Catholic Religious Vocation Network – The “Vocation Match” tool is fun to try, and the article on “16 Questions about Church Vocations” is a helpful FAQ sheet.