Why can’t Jesus do to me as He did to Saul? Flash a bright light! Make me fall! Speak to me audibly, tell me once and for all: "Yes, I am indeed calling you to My Priesthood!”
Saul’s call to conversion, as we read in Acts 9, is indeed filled with extraordinary, astonishing events. That’s what I wanted. Yet, as I went through High School, college, the workplace, my ‘Saul-moment’ never seemed to come. What kept coming up was this relentless question: Could it be that I am called to the priesthood?
For too long my answer was a list of questions: How can I be certain Jesus is calling? What is this “calling” supposed to look like anyway? What if this relentless question is my way of escaping disappointments? Can I be happy as a priest? How do I even go about this?
Eventually, I had to find out. It wasn’t until I reached out, was accepted and began formal discernment, that I began to see how the relentless question was not my own, but Christ giving me a chance to give everything I am to Him through His Priesthood.
A relentless, constant question…that was my ‘Saul-moment’.
- Fr. Jaime G. Maldonado
Many people, wondering what God’s plan for their life may be, ask the question, “do I have a vocation?” In order to begin to answer that question we need to know what a vocation even is. The word vocation derives from the Latin word vocare which means “to call”. A vocation simply is a calling. The first calling we each have on account of our baptism, is the call to holiness. We have been chosen by God to be holy, as St. Paul says in the beginning of his letter to the Ephesians. This is the call shared by every baptized person.
Sometimes, God issues another call for someone to follow Him more radically. This is the call to the priesthood or religious life. It is a call to step outside of our normal daily activities and dedicate ourselves more fully to the Glory of God and the spread of the Gospel. This is what many people mean when they begin considering if they have a “vocation”. What is important in all this is not to confuse the two calls. A person who feels called to greater holiness, prayerfulness, and love of God is feeling the call which each of us should be pursuing. It is from this that one is then called to more radical self gift and apostolic activity.
This small amount of clarity in what we are even asking helps set the stage so we can take the first steps in growing in holiness and have the freedom to then hear the voice of the Master if he should call us by name and say, “Follow me and I will make you fishers of men”.
~ Fr. Casey