JANET SCHAFFLER, OP
When you hear the word “vocation,” what comes to your mind? As a young child, I remember learning that “vocation” means “a call from God.” At that time, the word “vocation” applied only to the priesthood and religious life.
Called by God
To be called is part of God’s love for us. We are each uniquely called by God to be our best selves, to love and serve. We will each do that in different ways, but each and every way is a call from God. Every person “has a vocation”.
In whatever vocation we choose, God calls each of us to continually become more visibly the image of God. We are called to holiness, to service, to become a living response to God’s love. Call is rooted in our baptism.
God calls us all to holiness
Vatican II reminded us of the universal call to holiness. There is no hierarchy of holiness because of our state in life. All vocations are equal in God’s eyes.
The question is not “is God calling” or “if God is calling;” but “how is God calling me?” Do I live my life of love, service, and holiness as a married person, a single person, a lay minister in today’s Church, a vowed religious, or priest?
Tips on teaching vocation
Sometimes it seems like all we’re doing is constantly “teaching” the overwhelming reality that each of us has a vocation. The next step is to be more explicit with our language concerning who and what we are called to do as disciples of Jesus (vocation) and to intensify the everyday truths we are already exploring throughout our many catechetical sessions. Other specific ideas:
- Speak of all we do as vocation, as a response to God’s call to love and be of service.
- Share faith. Talk with those you teach about how faith affects your life. Invite guest speakers from all vocations to share with your students their beliefs and values related to your session themes.
- Provide opportunities for the children to be involved in service with sisters, brothers, priests, and lay ministers.
- Sponsor field trips to places of ministry, religious communities, and seminaries.
- During National Vocation Awareness Week, highlight the ministry and lifestyles of various vocations—through prayer, research projects, guest speakers, and letter writing.
Janet Schaeffler, OP, is involved in catechetical/adult faith formation, consultation, writing, workshops, days of reflection/retreats, and teaching. Her website is janetschaeffler.com.
Image: AaronAmat, istock