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A Season of Vocation

Archbishop John has invited us in the Diocese of Kootenay to spend time considering the vocation to which we are called.

What is a vocation? Many people think of vocation as a calling to serve in the church–as a priest or a deacon. It’s true that service in the church is a vocation. But the word vocation is much wider than that. It comes from the Latin word vocare, which means “to call”. God invites all of us, God calls all of us, to live out the good news. Our vocation is rooted in our baptism, and is found in our response to questions such as these:

“Will you proclaim by word and example the good news of God in Christ?”

“Will you seek and serve Christ in all persons, loving your neighbour as yourself?”

Our response to those questions is “I will with God’s help.”

Frederick Buechner is very helpful in helping us understand vocation:

“There are all different kinds of voices calling you to all different kinds of work; the problem is to find out which the voice of God rather than of Society, say, or the Superego, or Self-interest.

“By and large a good rule for finding this out is this: The kind of work God usually calls you to is the kind of work (a) that you need most to do and (b) that the world needs to have done. If you really get a kick out of your work, you’ve probably met requirement (a), but if your work is writing cigarette ads, the chances are you missed requirement (b). On the other hand, if your work is being a doctor in a leper colony, you have probably met requirement (b), but if most of the time you’re bored and depressed by it, the chances are you have not only bypassed (a), but probably aren’t helping your patients much either.

“Neither the hair shirt nor the soft berth will do. The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.” That last sentence is at the heart of thinking about our lives as a matter of vocation.

Where is your deep gladness? Where do you find your passion?

Where does that intersect with one of the deep hungers of the world?

Something to think about.