All of us are on a journey - from the moment of our conception to the moment of our death - and beyond. Just as for the person on a ship or the person walking down the street, we continually move forward on that journey of our life. At different stages of life different tendencies might dominate: obedience and learning or over-confidence or a tentative stepping forward, for example.


In our relationship with God, we are called, like children, to a deeper sense of trust in Him. As the Good Shepherd, Christ invites us to follow Him, to rely upon Him, to hand over control to Him - in order that we might grow in freedom and be led to green pastures.

How do we learn to listen for and recognise His voice?

Certainly, we need to take the time to listen, look, slow down, reflect and go beyond our superficial desires.  We need to listen to the Lord who calls to us in the depth of our being. Each of us needs time to realise that God may be (in fact, He most certainly is) calling each and every one of us daily!  As Jesus said Come, follow me!

Vocation (noun)

Latin vocatio, a calling, summoning;

from vocare, to call.

While most people think of a vocation as what they are called to do in life, it is important to understand that the first and most important call from God, is a call to be holy.  We are all called through our Baptism to share in Christ’s mission to be like him. This call to holiness means we are all called to live a life of friendship with God through Jesus Christ, recognising our dignity as beloved sons & daughters of our heavenly Father. 


“Vocation” means a “call” (from the Latin ‘vocare’). So, in general terms your vocation is what God calls you to do with your life. Everybody is called by God to know, love and serve him. The difference is how each one does this. We live this Universal Call to Holiness in a specific way (Particular Vocation) in Marriage, Religious Life, Priesthood, or in the Single State.

God gives each one of us this particular mission in life. In the one life God gave you to live, you have one overriding purpose, to fulfil the will of God, because this is the key to your true destiny, eternal happiness. As we grow and life progresses, he makes it known to us, usually in indirect ways, more as an invitation than an imposition. 

When we give of ourselves, we come to know who we are, and we come to the greatest joy and happiness we can have in this world.  We come to know in what way we can glorify God the most in this world. It is through giving that we receive. Every vocation, being a gift to others, is lived in a concrete, particular form, because love is always concrete and particular. A vocation begins with God’s love for us. In His love for us, God calls us to a particular form of life.


In the Gospel according to St. John, Jesus said: You did not choose me, but I chose you (John 15:16). His choice for us is what makes a vocation different from an occupation or a career. We can choose an occupation or a career for ourselves, but a vocation is HIS choice for us and which He invites us to accept, embrace and undertake for love of Him. His choice for us will never be contrary to our true happiness.


Often, we are taught to ask, “What do I want to be when I grow up?” or “What life will I choose?” The better way to think is, “What does God desire for me?”, “What life will bring God the greatest glory?” and ultimately to say,

“I want what God wants because I know that what He wants is going to give Him the greatest glory and give me the greatest joy.”

You did not choose me,

but I chose you

John 15:16

It is vital that we find our vocation because it is from God and is intended to bring us the fulfilment and joy that He wants for us. Our happiness, and ultimately our salvation can depend on our acceptance of the mission that Jesus has chosen for us. Moreover, other people’s salvation will depend on us giving our full “Yes” to Jesus in our vocation.

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vocations@portsmouthdiocese.org.uk | Tel: 01329 318 869 

Portsmouth Roman Catholic Diocese, UK Registered Charity 246871