Almighty and ever living God.
My dear and most loving Father.
I know and I can feel how much you love me.
Based on that love and knowing that you always want the best for me,
I ask you to guide my life to reach the vocation for which you have created me.
I offer you my life and my will.
I promise to allow you to guide me and form me as you have planned.
I know that in accepting and doing your will
is where my happiness and success resides.
Please give me the wisdom
to recognize your hand in all the circumstances of my life
and the courage to act upon the opportunities that you will present to me.
Help me to be humble and to acknowledge that everything good comes from you.
Grant me the grace to be always grateful
and to live a joyful life of service and love for you and others.
I ask you all this in the name of your most beloved Son,
Our Lord Jesus Christ,
who always knew His vocation as Saviour of the world
and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
for ever and ever.
Guidelines for Choosing a Vocation
The most important and essential element in discerning a vocation, whether it be religious or secular, is prayer.
Prayer is often overlooked when making a career decision. This is surprising. If we really believe that God has designed us with a purpose, it is only logical that we would ask Him to also guide us to discover what that purpose or vocation is.
Prayer does not have to be boring or complicated. Talk to God as you would talk to your friends. He is your best friend, and Father , and is always willing to hear you and to help you. He said so in the Gospel of John 14:13 "Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son".
Prayer is a dialog. When you talk to somebody who is less knowledgeable than you in a subject, you usually do a great deal of the talking. When you talk to someone who knows as much as you do, there is usually an interchange of ideas and both people share equally the time talking. When you talk to someone who knows a great deal more that you, you only ask the question and allow this person to do most of the talking. Well, if this all knowing person is God, and you address Him with your questions, you better be ready to listen.
God answers all prayers, invariably. He may do it in His own time, or the answer may not be what we want or expect, but He always answers. Even, when we think He is not answering, He is answering by His silence and showing you that perhaps what you are asking for is too far out from what He wants for you.
Prayer must come from the heart. It needs to be founded on Faith. You must believe that you will receive an answer in order for prayer to be effective. In the gospel of Luke 17:6 we read; "If you had faith like a grain of mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you". Faith is an act of will; it has nothing to do with feelings or emotions. According to Saint Augustine, wanting to believe is believing already.
God is all goodness and love. He would never want you to choose a career or a vocation that is immoral or intrinsically evil. Listen to your conscience. God gave you this innate capacity to be able to discern good from evil. It is your responsibility to educate the gift of your conscience in the ways and will of God. Doing this will make your process of vocational discernment so much easier and clearer.
On the same subject, living a moral and righteous life will allow you to not only be more attentive and sensitive to God's will. Living this way will help you to recognize anything evil or immoral that may distract you from your chosen path and jeopardize your chances of being successful at what God wants you to do. Stay firm in your beliefs and trust in God's protection and love for you.
I do not know anybody in this age to whom God speaks to directly. Most often, God answers prayers in the circumstances and events of our lives. Nothing happens by chance... there is always a plan. Divine Providence is God's intervention in the lives of people. It is always active and guiding us in everything that happens to us. You must meditate on these events and try to recognize God's hand in everything. Again, pray about these events, that God may reveal His intentions and plans to you. Do not be impatient. Part of the process of discernment of vocations under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, is the exercise of patience. Patience is one of the seven virtues inspired by the Holy S the exercise of patience spirit, and therefore acquired and cultivated through the exercise of prayer.
Everything happens within God's time, not our own. Be reassured, that as long as you are trying to live up to what God wants you to do, you are doing your part. The rest is up to Him who created you and loves you more that anybody ever will.
The secret to have a joyful life is always doing the will of God. Sadness and frustration come from the not getting what we want. If we always want the same things that God wants, we will never be disappointed, being that God always gets away with what He wants. He is God, all powerful and all knowing, how cannot we trust Him.
I wish and pray that whoever is reading this introduction, and is trying to discern their vocations and future according to the will of God, may be helped by the intercession of Our most beloved Lady, The Virgin Mary and all the angels and saints.
Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Vocations
1. What should be listed under vocations?
Religious: Holy Orders; Bishop, Priest and Deacon. These are the only three types of clergy in the Catholic Church
Consecrated persons: Nuns, Monks and lay persons.
Regardless of our specific given and chosen vocations, we are all obligated and expected to serve God and our brethren in the Church, whether as clergy, consecrated persons, or lay people.
2. Describe each vocation and the training required?
In terms of a religious vocation, what could be understood as training is called formation.
In the case of clergy, the only two available introductory positions are Deacon and Priest. These two positions although have received the Sacrament of Holy Orders, do not contain the fullness of them. Only the bishop has the fullness of Holy Orders. The Deacon is ordained to the service of the Bishop, and the Priest to serve in a Parish as the means to administer the Sacraments to the people belonging to that specific parish. Deacons can only administer the Sacraments of Baptism, and witness Marriages, although they are authorized to lead funeral services, liturgies of the Word and assist at Mass as well as distribute Communion. The Deacon is the minister of the Word. He always proclaims the Gospel and sometimes preaches. The Priest can administer the two previous Sacraments, as well as the Sacraments of Confession, Eucharist, and anointing of the sick. He can sometimes administer the Sacrament of Confirmation by special permission from the Bishop. The Bishop having the fullness of Holy Orders can administer all seven Sacraments.
The order of Bishop is done by election and not out of personal choice.
3. Where can I train in Canada?
Most provinces will have seminaries for the formation of clergy. For the province of Alberta is St. Joseph Seminary 9828 84 St NW, Edmonton, AB (780) 392-2445.
4. How does a student know if they are called?
The formation of clergy is a process of discernment. The candidate, most of the time, does not know if Holy Orders is their vocation until shortly before their ordination. All the time of formation is designed for the candidate to reflect if becoming a Priest or a Deacon is what really God wants from them. Many people enroll, and throughout the formation, many discern that perhaps their calling is not the religious life ant they leave the programs. There is no shame or failure in this. Becoming an ordained minister is different than becoming any other professional. The call and forming of the candidate belongs to God, all the candidate has to do is be willing to comply with God's will and give it his best effort.
Prayer, meditation of Sacred Scripture and discernment of life's events are the tools to decide whether an individual is called to religious life or not.
5. Who should talk to if they think they are being call?
The best person to talk to when discerning a religious vocation is the local parish priest or, in his absence, the deacon. Another option is to call the seminary and arrange for an interview.
6. How do you know if a vocation is right for you?
Reflecting upon my own discernment process for the vocation of Deacon, I can say that God made me open to this possibility through different events in my life. From my childhood God made himself present in my life and gave me the desire to get to know Him better and to want to have a personal relationship with Him. As my life progressed and through suffering the consequences of my sins and mistakes, God also revealed His merciful intervention and showed me that I needed to be grateful and to correspond somehow to all the good things that He has given me and continues to give me.
It was only through Divine Providence that I came to live in Canada and that I was invited to participate in the program for the formation of Permanent Deacons. If there is any merit of my own in this process, perhaps, it was just that most of the time I wanted to do God's will, and I allowed myself to become flexible and be opened to change to be able to serve God and others as a Deacon.
Holy orders is not a profession or a career. It is a gift and as such it needs to be addressed and live accordingly. No one deserves anything, much less to be called to serve at the altar of God, therefore one needs to remember this always and be grateful for such and incredible gift. On the other hand it is a tremendous responsibility, because when you become part of the clergy, you become part of the Magisterium of the Catholic Church, and our actions are not just judged on individual bases, but are judged as if they are of the whole Church.
East Central Alberta Catholic School Division #16 would like to thank Deacon Carlos Lara from Blessed Sacrament Parish for sharing his knowledge and his testimonial in the creation of this webpage.