Catholic Dictionary


(From Latin vocare: to call) The calling from God to follow a particular way of life. The Second Vatican Council, in Lumen Gentium and Gaudium et Spes, emphasizes the universal call to holiness, that general call of God to all the baptized to a life of grace and union with Him; this vocation is the call that gives human life its destiny and meaning. In particular, vocation is understood as God's call to a distinctive state of life, viz., married, single, religious, or priestly; the Sacraments of Matrimony and Holy Orders are thus designated sacraments of vocation. Although the term has this broad meaning, it has come to refer more specifically to the calling to religious life or the priesthood; thus it is common to speak of a religious vocation and the necessary discernment by the competent Church authorities of the authentic call to priestly or religious life.

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