Dear brethren and friends, for me often when I explore the topic of Living a life of Holiness and Love which is the Primary vocation and call from God the Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit, I often come to the major theme of discerning and discovering one’s Secondary Vocation.
To do so, a person needs to have courage, and perseverance, to constantly pray and ask God for guidance, and to serve in the Church and out in the schools and workplace, for truly God has our best interests at heart. He knows us best and cares for us, and calls us to greatness, and He calls us to love,
Psalm 138(139):1 “Yahweh, you examine me and know me, you know when I sit, when I rise, you understand my thoughts from afar.”
Jeremiah 29:11 – 14 “Yes, I know what plans I have in mind for you, Yahweh declares, plans for peace, not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. When you call to me and come and pray to me, I shall listen to you. When you search for me, you will find me; when you search wholeheartedly for me, I shall let you find me (Yahweh declares. I shall restore your fortunes and gather you in from all the nations and wherever I have driven you, Yahweh declares. I shall bring you back to the place from which I exiled you).”
Isaiah 61:1 – 2 “The spirit of Lord Yahweh is on me for Yahweh has anointed me. He has sent me to bring the news to the afflicted, to soothe the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to captives, release to those in prison, to proclaim a year of favour from Yahweh and a day of vengeance for our God, to comfort all who mourn”
There are 4 categories that the call of God for an individual in terms of Secondary Vocation includes, and most often there is only one for each person among the four:
1) The life of the Clergy in the three degrees of the Sacrament of Holy Orders (Deacons; Priests; Bishops), being a servant to God and minister to His Church;
2) Married life in the Sacrament of Holy matrimony (a marriage covenant between a man and a woman, made freely, truthfully, faithfully and fruitfully, as a Sacramental sign of the love of Jesus Christ and the Church);
3) Religious Life (being a religious brother or sister), dedicating one’s life to live for God and the Church in a certain form of community and discipline.
4) Singlehood, if one dedicates one’s singlehood, for the love of God and the love of neighbour, by dedicating one’s life in a particular service, e.g. teaching, medicine, mission work, social work, research.
One key note is that no one calls himself/herself. The call is from God. We may desire one Vocation more than the others, but it is about giving God the best choice, which is a Yes to His will out of love and freedom of will, and this is what we see in the life of the Patriarchs, the Prophets, and the Apostles and Saints. The Lord never forces anyone to any particular vocation; however, the Lord does prompt us and guide us to make the right decision if we allow Him to.
Do not be afraid to follow the Lord’s call. Take time to pray and reflect often. Ask the Lord for guidance, and for the grace to experience His love. You will definitely need companions on the discernment journey, fellow Catholic Christians and also a Spiritual Director and other Spiritual advisors mainly Priests and Religious.
Matthew 4:19 – 20 “And he said to them, ‘Come after me and I will make you fishers of people.’ And at once they left their nets and followed him.”
John 15:15 – 17 “I shall no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know the master’s business; I call you friends, because I have made known to you everything I have learnt from my Father. You did not choose me, no, I chose you; and I commissioned you to go out and to bear fruit, fruit that will last; so that the Father will give you anything you ask him in my name. My command to you is to love one another.”
Take the example of the Apostles and early disciples – how they left their livelihood behind to follow the Lord. They gained something much more than a personal friendship with God. They gained a life dedicated to the love and service of the Lord and the people whom God is calling to be members of His kingdom.
For those who are already living out a particular Secondary Vocation, and also those who are in the midst of Formation towards a particular formation take note of the advice that God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ through the Holy Spirit gives us through the teachings of the Apostles, which is to persevere in saying yes to the Lord.
1 Timothy 6:12 “Fight the good fight of faith and win the eternal life to which you were called and for which you made your noble profession of faith before many witnesses.”
2 Peter 1:10 – 11 “Instead of this, brothers, never allow your choice or calling to waver; then there will be no danger of your stumbling, for in this way you will be given the generous gift of entry to the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.”
All glory be to the Lord Jesus Christ, and to God the Father, and to the Holy Spirit, for He loves us all and calls us all to love and holiness. By entrusting each of us with a mission and a purpose, we together make up for the unity of the Church and the Kingdom of God.