Are you being called?
One of the first questions that we are asked in early childhood is: "What are you going to be when you grow up?" We usually respond with something like: "a fireman," or "a doctor," or "a lawyer," or any one of the many available professions from which to choose. Perhaps, even, our response might be: "I’m going to be a priest!" "I'm going to be a Sister!"
Likewise, early in our development we begin to ask ourselves: "What do I want to be when I grow up?" Throughout life we continually ask ourselves this question and we continually change our answer until we settle the issue with certainty by discovering our "true calling." That is, we discover not want we want to be, but what the Lord wants us to be.
The word "vocation" comes from the Latin word vocare, meaning "to call." So, in the broadest sense, a vocation is a calling to a particular way of life, be it as a doctor, lawyer, husband, wife, and so forth. In the stricter sense, however, we speak of a Vocation as a life of service in the Church as a Priest, Brother, or Religious Sister. Whichever way we use the word "vocation" what is essential is that it connotes that the Lord is calling us to this or that particular way of life.
So, how do we discover our true calling? Well, we discover it through the process of "discernment." Discernment (another Latin root word) means "to sift through" or "to separate." The process of discernment is the process of sifting through or separating out the many peripheral, that is, erroneous, choices for our life. For this, we need the aid of family, friends, experts, or a spiritual director. Usually we need to employ all of these vehicles to help us recognize our strengths, weaknesses, and that sometimes elusive, "true calling."
One obvious indication that a person has discovered his or her true calling is to observe the presence of the fruits of the Spirit, namely: peace, patience, joy, happiness, and love. If these fruits are present, there is good indication that the person has discovered his or her vocation in life. If these gifts are not present, then quite possibly the person has opted for a peripheral life choice.
As he was walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers,
Simon who is called Peter, and his brother Andrew,
casting a net into the sea; they were fishermen.
He said to them, "Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men."
At once they left their nets and followed him.
~ Matthew 4:18-20