5/43.1 A unique and unrepeatable vocation.
From the loneliness of his prison cell St Paul writes a letter to the first Christians in Ephesus. He begins with a paean of thanksgiving for all the gifts he has received from the Lord, especially the gift of his vocation. God has likewise chosen each one of us to be his disciples, to extend his Kingdom on earth. The Apostle emphasises the radical equality that characterizes the universal call to holiness. Before the world was made, He chose us, chose us in Christ, to be holy and spotless, and to live through love in his presence, determining that we should become his adopted sons, through Jesus Christ for his own kind purposes, to make us praise the glory of his grace, his free gift to us in the Beloved, in whom, through his blood, we gain our freedom, the forgiveness of our sins.
Each one of us has been called from all eternity to fulfil a divine vocation. God the Father brought us into life (no one has been born by accident). He created our soul. He drew us into his intimate life through the Sacrament of Baptism. By means of this sacrament God has commissioned us; He has put his seal upon us and given us his Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee. He has given us a specific work to accomplish in this life and has prepared a place for us in Heaven.
Within the universal call to holiness God also has a specific vocation in mind for each of his children. He calls the great majority of the faithful to live in the middle of the world so as to sanctify temporal realities. God calls a small number of his children to withdraw from the world and live a consecrated life, thereby giving a public testimony for the glory of God. The Lord helps us to become aware of and understand our vocation in a mysterious and delicate fashion. Even within the vocation of married couples, single people and priests, God points out a personal path to his Love. In fact, from eternity God has thought of us and has loved us as unique individuals. Every one of us he called by name, as the Good Shepherd ‘calls his sheep by name’ (John 10:3). However, only in the unfolding of the history of our lives and its events is the eternal plan of God revealed to each of us. Therefore, it is a gradual process; in a certain sense, one that happens day by day.
To be able to discover the actual will of the Lord in our lives always involves the following: a receptive listening to the Word of God and the Church, fervent and constant prayer, recourse to a wise and loving spiritual guide, and a faithful discernment of the gifts and talents given by God, as well as the diverse social and historic situations in which one lives.
As time goes on, God leads us by the hand to higher and higher degrees of sanctity. If we are faithful, if we are listening carefully, the Holy Spirit will guide us through the normal events and circumstances of our life to a deeper love for God.