​"Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name: you are mine." Is 43:1

A deep biblical truth is that God calls all of us and each of us by name.  "God calls. We respond. This fundamental, essential pattern in the life of every believer appears throughout salvation history." The term vocation is derived from the Latin, vocare which means "to call."  God, who is Love, calls each person into being.  Everyone has a vocation.  The one universal call to holiness and salvation takes shape in various states of life or vocations within the church. (Co-Workers in the Vineyard of the Lord)

Most Catholics associate the word vocation primarily with the priesthood, permanent diaconate or consecrated life. The church affirms marriage as a sacrament and a vocation. St. John Paul II and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops have affirmed the vocation of the laity who are called to serve as lay ecclesial ministers. The church also understands the single life as a secondary vocation, rather than a state in life.

Single Life

"Jesus Christ is the one whom the Father anointed with the Holy Spirit and established as priest, prophet, and king."  The whole people of God participates in these three offices of Christ and bears the responsibilities for mission and service that flow from them (Catechism of the Catholic Church  #783).

By virtue of the sacraments of Christian initiation, baptism, confirmation and Eucharist, one is established in multiple relationships: with Christ, with the church, and with the people of God. These relationships are the foundation of the shared vocation of all Christ's disciples. The shared vocation takes on a personal and particular form in the life of each Christian disciple according to the needs of the times and the various gifts of the Holy Spirit. No matter how God calls, each person must seek to respond freely to that call and contribute to evangelizing the world.

How does a person discover his or her unique and deepest identity?

Discernment is the name given to this search.  It involves an ongoing process of conversion and maturing discipleship that sharpens the senses to be attuned to the call of God. An important element of discernment is understanding that the followers of Christ are called for others. Although discernment differs for each person, prayer, reflection, questioning, cultivating a sense of openness to God and personal growth, and seeking the counsel of another are common discernment practices.