Finding your vocation may begin with these words from the Prologue in the Rule of St. Benedict: “Listen carefully, my [child], to the master’s instructions, and attend to them with the ear of your heart.”
I believe the master Benedict speaks about is God. Through our baptism, our first vocation is to live as Jesus taught. We are called to spread the Good News of the Gospel. We are called to listen to the question, “How will I best live my baptismal call?”
The “how will I live” is where we begin discerning our second vocation. For example, should I remain single, get married becoming a spouse, a parent, or enter a religious community? Which one of these life choices will help me live fully in my relationship with God?
In discerning a life choice, we rely on prayer and conversation with trusted people who can challenge and support our decision. In discerning with others, along with prayer, we deepen our relationship with God. We will find the strength to move forward in faith, trust and hope. According to the Rule of Benedict, we are to “place our hope in God alone.” By placing our hope in God who leads us in our vocation, we are letting God lead our life as we humbly submit our will.
Humility could be viewed as giving back to God what was given to us. In giving to God we are responding to the will of God, which comes with personal challenges along with blessings. It takes patience, prayer and strength to allow God into the intimacy of our life. St. Benedict urges us to be patient, saying, “In truth those who are patient amid hardships … are fulfilling the Lord’s command.” The Lord’s command is to follow our baptismal call. To love and serve God in whatever vocational choice we make, we remember that God loved us first and called us into being.
In the call to love, St. Benedict offers these words as a guide: “It is love that impels them to pursue everlasting life.” With this in mind, it is through love and obedience that we follow God in our chosen lifestyle.
Once a lifestyle is chosen, we need to discern our third vocation: how I will serve God through my work. Where will I best use my skills and gifts? Will I be my best self by being a teacher, a homemaker, a health care provider or perhaps a bus driver?
The opportunities are endless and may change several times throughout our lifetime. More important than the type of work itself is the question of how it bring us closer to God: How will our work help build up the world, the church and the community of God?
When we work for the greater honor and glory of God our whole life becomes our vocation. In other words, we are never without new vocational insights when we are open and listen to God through prayer.
So, I end as I began: “Listen carefully, my [child], to the master’s instructions, and attend to them with the ear of your heart.”
Benedictine Sister Lisa Rose is the director of vocations at St. Benedict’s Monastery in St. Joseph.