A vocation is, in the simplest of terms, a calling. A vocation is more than a job or a career. It is about being who God calls you to be, which is who He made you to be. This is about learning to trust in what you love, pursuing this love with intent and letting it take you wherever it wants you to go. What gives you joy? It can be a simple hobby like fishing or gardening. It can be an intellectual pursuit like poetry or mathematics. It can be relationships like friendships and family. Think about these things, and then elevate these thoughts into a vision of the heart: living every moment of your life under the gaze and in the service of a loving God.
What do these simple pursuits that make you happy look like when you think about them in this eternal context? This is a vision where every thought, word and deed can be guided by Him—where every moment is significant. Even mundane tasks like cleaning, studying or changing a diaper are important because we see them as part of this bigger picture, as a part of a bigger plan.
When you can see a vision like this, open yourself to it. Try to remove your expectations. Let go of what you tell yourself you want. Let God take you where He wants you to go. You will discover that this was what you really wanted all along. We only discover who we are, and what we want, when we find our hearts in Him.
Opening our eyes to God’s invitation does not happen in an afternoon, nor is it a linear process. Each of us has some basic A-B-C path for following the will of God. I was blessed with a family where prayer and the presence of God were never in doubt. This awareness of the constant presence of a loving God is, no doubt, the greatest blessing of my life. But, despite this awareness, it took a good deal of time and life to find my true vocation to the priesthood, which has led me to serving as your bishop. This is not anything I predicted, foresaw or even realized I could ever want, but it was a journey led by God. As He called me to a deeper relationship with Him, I was able to discern my vocation.
Not all of us had a strong sense of God’s loving presence in our childhood environment. But we all have this faculty to sense God-with-us, Jesus. We know that we are never alone. We are made to hear His voice. But we do have to choose to tune in and learn to trust what our hearts are made for. Yes, we must change our ways (I certainly had to change mine), but, in humility and our powerlessness, He will take care of the rest.
God waited patiently for me to learn to trust in a love that I yearned for, and for me to answer His call to the priesthood. In these times of anxiety and uncertainty, vocations are being endangered. This is time for each of us to pray and meditate, to be ever more open to the presence of God and to count on Jesus. He is calling.