Holy Orders and Vocations
Christ calls us to be holy, to be conformed more closely to His image and likeness. Growth in holiness is a continuous spiritual development, nurtured by the Sacraments, personal prayer, and spiritual reading. The general call to holiness is made concrete through one’s particular vocation.
The call to holiness very often is fulfilled in the vocation of spouse. The Sacrament of Marriage is the exchange of consent between spouses who mutually give and receive one another through the sacrament in service to God, each other, and their children. Every couple must strive to recognize this holy bond in which they are called to live a sacred and saintly life.
Engaged couples are encouraged to ask themselves whether God is calling them to marriage — to a faithful, permanent, and life-giving relationship that is, in essence, the foundation of the Christian family, or domestic church. A premarital assessment and formal marriage preparation assist couples on their journey to answer the call to the vocation of spouse.
All are called to live their life joined to Christ in Baptism. For many, single life becomes the best way to fulfill their vocation. Accepting the vocation of the single life means choosing to serve God as a member of the laity. Single persons serve the Christian family through acts of love and service, in a variety of lay ministries. Living a single life invites individuals to make a difference in their community and world as Jesus did.
In every age there have been men and women who, obedient to the Father's call and to the prompting of the Spirit, have chosen this special way of following Christ, in order to devote themselves to him with an "undivided" heart (1 Cor 7:34). Like the Apostles, they too have left everything behind in order to be with Christ and to put themselves, as He did, at the service of God and their brothers and sisters. In this way, through the many charisms of spiritual and apostolic life bestowed on them by the Holy Spirit, they have helped to make the mystery and mission of the Church shine forth, and in doing so have contributed to the renewal of society.
Living in obedience, with nothing of one's own, and in chastity, consecrated persons profess that Jesus is the model in whom every virtue comes to perfection. In every age, the Spirit enables new men and women to recognize the appeal of such a demanding choice.
A call to a priestly life is best understood by considering who a priest is. He is a man of faith and prayer called to be a church minister; he proclaims the Word of God; he administers the Sacraments; he lives celibately as servant-leader; he builds a parish community that works to bring healing, justice, and holiness to all. Through the Sacrament of Holy Orders, baptized men are consecrated in Christ’s name “to nourish the Church with the word and grace of God.”
Check out the Arlington Diocese Office of Vocations