Almost every one of us has heard that to live is to know how to choose, and it is not an exaggeration. Every day we make decisions that impact our lives and the lives of those around us for good or for worse.
Shall I get up on time or shall I get up late? Will I help someone who needs me? Will I remain indifferent? Shall I adopt a positive attitude? Each day we answer this type of questions and we act accordingly, even though most of the time we do in unconsciously.
But there are crucial moments in our life that demand more far reaching decisions; for example when we are young and we have to choose what we will do and how are we going to live for the rest of our lives. In this crossroads, it is vital for us to be able to listen and discern; in other words, we need to know what God wants for us and what we have to do to become full persons.
This choice is what we call a “vocation”: the inclination or interest that we feel to devote ourselves to a specific way or life or a specific work.
Sometimes, our vocational calling leads us to have a fervent desire to devote our existence totally to God; some other times we identify different roads to follow His inspiration, participate in the creation and fulfill the mission that God has for us.
The opportunity to make a pause on the road in order to listen and recognize our calling is precisely what a vocational retreat offers. It is a space for discernment through a communication with God, with ourselves and with our fellow human beings.
Through informational lectures, spaces for prayer, dynamics for reflection, games, and sharing time with others, we get to know better our own convictions, capabilities and motivations. Thus we acquire tools to make the right decision.
These retreats help us to draw up our plan for life, to delve into our calling and know the will of God; they also allow us to clarify what others expect from us, and above all, what do we expect from ourselves. As a matter of fact, the word “vocation” means calling. It is a dialogue in which God makes a calling and the human being listens, because each life is as unique and unrepeatable as the mission that our Creator has for each one of us.
It is important to remember that the vocation is a gift from God, but it is also a task that we must develop.
When we discern that our vocation is religious life, this means that we are willing to leave everything in order to follow God full time, making a commitment to lead a life of poverty, obedience and chastity, and to say as Christ said:
“Here I am, I have come to do Your will.” (Heb. 10, 9).
And in the case of other vocations, whichever they are, we are also called to follow Christ, living with hope and following the precepts of faith, in order to contribute in the task of making tangible the Kingdom of God on Earth.
Finally, no matter which road we are called to follow, if we follow it with confidence and joy, it will allow us to reach the end of our life with the satisfaction of having lived a full and happy life.