Conservative Colloquium

An Intellectual Forum for All Things Conservative

Vocation and Threats to It

Posted by Tony Listi on November 18, 2007

When you hear the word “vocation” what do you think?

Calling, what a person is called by God to be/do (the word is from the Latin “to call”). A role that one is called to play in life. It provides purpose for one’s life. God gives our lives purpose through vocation. Because it is a calling from God, it is also a command from and duty to Him. Using the gifts that God has given us to the fullest.

 What do you think is the #1 threat to the idea of vocations?

Pride and Fear. One may be called to do something by God or others, but one rejects the call for one’s own selfish, base, or fearful reasons.

Lack or deficiency of seriousness/gravitas. Many young people are looking for jobs when they should be looking for their vocation. Some are much more ambitious and talented and thus are thinking of careers, but they are still trapped in a narrow worldly perspective. One should always seek out the broadest perspective. It is better to think of one’s career rather than what job one wants, but it is better still to think of the vocation one has rather than the career one wants. Only the term “vocation” connotes an openness to and cooperation with the will of God.


As with many things regarding the will of God, how can one be certain which vocation(s) God has called us to? How can one know whether one is ignorant of one’s vocation or merely using ignorance or uncertainty as an excuse not to follow a given vocation?

 What do you think is the #1 threat that prevents people from discerning and seeking fulfillment in Holy Marriages these days?

The secular liberal world-view that degrades marriage to nothing more than a consensual relationship of convenience, pleasure, and mutual self-indulgence. This view reduces love to a mere feeling and thus when the feeling ends, so does the marriage. When the spouse fails to please and the relationship is no longer convenient, the marriage can be terminated by one of the two. When marriage is not thought of as a permanent thing, a divine institution, those who enter into it take it less seriously and appreciate it less. This view knows nothing of true marital love, which is a life-long and fruitful commitment to the good of the spouse.

For those who realize marriage is a life-long commitment, fear of being trapped in such a commitment that makes them miserable holds them back from marriage. A relationship that at first makes them happy may eventually make them miserable. People think they are entitled not to suffer.

Similarly, the widespread idea of children as a burden rather than a blessing from God prevents many marriages from fulfillment. Abortion and contraception enable couples to act upon this false and evil notion, and thus threaten marriage. A marriage that is not fruitful with children, when it can be, has closed itself off from the will of God. This couple seeks mutual self-indulgence and cannot truly love each other. A love apart from God, who is Love, is not love at all.

 What do you think is the #1 threat that prevents men from discerning and seeking fulfillment in Priesthood these days?

Pride and Fear. Many, if not most, men seek money, status, power, and sex. None of this is the reward of a priest and thus it seems unattractive to them.

Others fear being trapped in a life-long commitment that will make them miserable. The life of a priest that at first makes them happy may eventually make them miserable.

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