What Is Your Vocation or State In Life

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One of the beautiful things about being Catholic is how God has a plan for every single one of us in our lives.

Unlike a lot of people who drift around aimlessly in life with no concrete plan or direction, we know that our lives are not condemned to an uncertain future.   We all have a state in life that we are called to, a specific purpose to our lives, a vocation that we are to fulfil.

What then is a Vocation?

VOCATION DEFINITION – vocation means a call.  Our vocation is God’s call or invitation to us, to love and serve Him and His Church in a particular way in life.  It is a call to a concrete state in life.

It is a lifelong commitment to something that God wants us to do as well as a call to be the unique person that He made us to be.  All Catholics are called to live holy lives and to be saints, but God calls us to be saints in different ways;  some  to be wives, others to be nuns/sisters, others to be consecrated and so on.

As a Catholic, one of the first questions we get asked, when meeting other Catholics for the first time, after initial introductions are out of the way, is “What is your state in life”

The terms ‘vocation’ and ‘state in life’ are generally used interchangeably and in many cases, they are one and the same, and in others, not. More on that later.

 

WHAT ARE THE VOCATIONS, ACCORDING TO THE CATHOLIC CHURCH?

The main vocations are:

  1. Marriage
  2. Religious Life
  3. Consecrated Life

The priesthood is a vocation open only to Catholic men, and as this is a blog primarily for Catholic women, we will not discuss that in this post.

Some people will argue that Single-hood or the Single Life is also a vocation……but, more on that later.

 

MARRIAGE:

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The vocation to marriage is a call to love and serve God by giving of yourself faithfully to your spouse, loving and serving him, sharing with him all the ups and downs that life brings, to being co-creators with God by bringing forth new life through sexual union and intimacy. Public vows and promises are made. Marriage is both a vocation and a sacrament ordered towards the good of the spouse and the education and procreation of children resulting from the union.  The family becomes a symbol and a reflection of God’s love in the world.

 

RELIGIOUS LIFE:

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The vocation to the religious life is a call to be a Bride of Christ, to love and serve God as part of a religious community, separated (in part or in totality) from the world.  Public vows and promises of celibacy, poverty, chastity and obedience are made, and the vocation call can be to be sister within an active religious community or a nun within a cloistered religious community.

If you have already discerned that you are called to the religious life, but are having a little trouble deciding which religious order is right for you, then you may like to read my post Discerning The Right Religious Order For You.

 

CONSECRATED LIFE:

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The vocation to the consecrated life is a call to perpetual chastity and celibacy, devoting your life entirely to God. Public vows and promises of poverty, obedience and celibacy are made, but you continue to live and work within the world. Although, you will not experience physical motherhood, you will experience spiritual motherhood, loving and nurturing those within your care.

The Consecrated Single Life vocation is quite rare as most would prefer to enter a convent or join a religious community.

However, recently 3 women entered this vocation in Detroit, USA and see more about it HERE

 

SINGLE-HOOD OR THE SINGLE LIFE:

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A lot of people within Catholic circles are divided over whether single-hood is a vocation or not.  Some people insist that lay single-hood is a vocation.  I say………. No, it is NOT  a vocation.

In my opinion, single-hood is a state in life, but not a vocation.

A person that is single by circumstance (death of a spouse etc) or that is still waiting for a life partner is not having a vocation.  Single-hood is their state in life, which can change, NOT  a vocation.  A vocation is specifically a call – see above. Also, unlike vocations to marriage, religious life and consecrated life, no public vows and promises are made in single-hood

Now, the single life CAN be a vocation if one consecrates oneself to live the rest of their life dedicated exclusively to God, but then that would mean a vocation to the Consecrated Life (see above), would it not?

 

All vocations will involve suffering and sacrifice, but when lived faithfully, our vocation will bring us great rewards, joy and deep fulfilment.

Discerning our vocation goes more than just making a decision on whether you want to get married, join a religious community or live your life in perpetual celibacy consecrated to God.

Discerning your vocation entails discerning God’s will for you and answering the question “How best am I called to love? How does God wish to use my life to serve Him and others?”

As St Catherine of Siena said:  “Be who God meant you to be and you will set the world on fire

 

HELPFUL RESOURCES FOR YOU:

An Introduction To The Devout Life

My Beloved: Story Of A Carmelite Nun

The Way of Trust and Love

 

ad Jesum per Mariam

🌹📿🌹

3 thoughts on “What Is Your Vocation or State In Life

  1. Thanks for providing us a good overview of vocations and the pictures are lovely! The consecrated life section has an inaccuracy though – consecrated virgins do not necessarily make vows. They are consecrated (an act of the church).

    It is true that the church does not consider the single life to be a vocation. I think it is worth noting though that we have had quite a few single lay female saints. They lived lives of total celibacy, totally committed to God but were not called to a religious order and were not consecrated by a bishop. They considered themselves to have a call to celibacy and/or spouses of Christ but as far as the church is concerned they were single lay women. There have always been women called to private vows and it seems likely to me there always will be regardless of their status in the church.

    I am a privately vowed celibate lay woman. I do not date and will never marry. I work full time for the church, spend my free time making vestments, go to mass every day, pray the Liturgy of the Hours, etc. I discerned being a consecrated virgin and the answer was nope. I married Jesus but I didn’t send out engraved invitations, walk down the aisle of a cathedral in a poofy white dress, register for items at Macy’s or have media coverage of it. My canonical status didn’t change but my relationship with God did.

    Like

    1. I think it is wonderful that you have made that commitment. Whilst I do understand that you have a wish to keep it as a private commitment between yourself and the Lord I do think that is a bit of a shame because I think that the vocation of the Consecrated Virgin is such a wonderful role model for women who don’t feel the wish to marry and become mothers. And I think it is also really important to get the message of purity across to young women.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Firstly what a beautiful dress in that first picture – and come to that the others !

    A wonderful article and I believe you are right to identify the three vocations open to a woman who is committed to her faith. All I would add is that all involve a complete commitment to others and through that to God and for a wife and mother that puts husbands and children way ahead of a career.

    Liked by 1 person

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