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What is 'Vocation'?

manresa house - boston college


Vocation is one of those catchall words that people use in many different contexts to refer to many different things. Originally, the word 'vocation' comes from the Latin verb vocare, meaning "to call out". Yet we often hear the word used to describe someone's career aspirations or direction in life.


In the Christian context, however, we believe that God is always calling us to something more, something different, something that is authentic to our being and who God has made us to be. All Christians are called to live out the command of their baptism to live as disciples of Christ. Yet within this large group of Christians there is a smaller subgroup that takes on a life that is radically committed to Christ and the Church. This takes on many forms, typically in the priesthood, the religious life for men and women, and in lay ecclesial ministry. We ask you to take a moment to consider if God is calling you?


Here at Manresa House, we are concerned with helping students and staff consider and discern where they feel God might be leading them in their life journey. We hope to be a resource for people at any step in the journey, whether you just want to learn more or whether you feel ready to commit. 


Some thoughts about vocation:


"My deepest vocation is to be a witness to the glimpses of God that I have been allowed to catch."
        -Henri Nouwen

β€œThe vocation to love, understood as a true openness to our fellow human
beings and solidarity with them, is the most basic of all vocations. It is the
origin of all vocations in life.”

        - Pope John Paul II

"Vocation does not mean a goal that I pursue. It means a calling that I hear. Before I can tell my life what I want to do with it, I must listen to my life telling me who I am. I must listen for the truths and values at the heart of my own identity, not the standards by which I must live – but the standards by which I cannot help but live if I am living my own life.”                
        -Parker Palmer in "Let Your Life Speak", pages 4-5


"We cannot feed God's flock unless we let ourselves be carried by God's will even where we would rather not go, unless we are prepared to bear witness to Christ with the gift of ourselves, unreservedly, not in a calculating way, sometimes even at the cost of our lives...this is possible only if we recognize Jesus Christ, because it is He who called us, He who has invited us to travel his path, He who has chosen us."
-Pope Francis