Week 5 Day 4: Vocation

Week 5: My Relationship with Creation
Workbook Exercise: My Creation Collage

Watch: Week 5 Day 4: Vocation
How would you describe your unique ‘vocation’ in the world?
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Transcript of Video:

I think my sense of – my own personal sense of “mission” (I guess you can call it) in the world, something that might be a couple of steps above like a vocation, is this sense that what God wants out of me personally – perhaps as an expression of gratitude for all God’s given me – is to simply be present in a particular way, to cultivate that, to practice that, to foster an awareness of God’s presence and God’s love both within certain aspects of creation, within my own heart, within other people. I think being in the world in that way is really what God wants out of me; that’s like the primary thing. Now experience has taught me that in some ways that “being,” you know that thing that I feel called to do, is really the generative thing that I feel like is the thing that I have to offer, the thing that I have to give, the blessing that I can pass on. Something that has been given to me that I can then share. Being a monk as a vocation seems to be one of the best ways that I have found to cultivate that, in community. To live a life that helps me aspire to, keep in mind the intention of, and to practice that higher mission of being present and giving that back to the world.

– Br. Nicholas Bartoli


  1. David B Damon on October 7, 2021 at 09:09

    I see two parts to my vocation in the world. The first part is the joy I receive in serving and helping others. This starts with my family and radiates outward to those in my church and community. Currently I am being challenged to expand my radius and go to people I’ve been reluctant (or fearful) to meet and serve before. This Rule of life course is helping me see this, to recognize and value the stranger, outsider, poor – and those who are different from me. The second part of my vocation is the joy of learning and discovery. By profession I was a scientist, and now being retired I find this same joy in learning about the church, studying history, reading about the early church fathers, etc. I hope and try to share what I’ve learned with others and to apply it in my own life so as to walk more closely with our Lord.

  2. David Watkins on December 9, 2017 at 09:33

    I believe that my vocation in life is to let the world know the beauty and peace that comes through music. I have kept this purpose close to my heart throughout my years as a teacher and performer. Music can be used to heal, foster personal emotional and spiritual connectedness, foster unity with our fellow humans, and bring us closer to God. As students grapple with the difficulties in music, I know what profound joy and satisfaction lie ahead for them at the end of their journey. The dramas of life can be experienced through music, and elevate the human spirit. When I think of my mission through music, verses of Scripture come to mind such as ” I will lift up my eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help.” “Let the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be acceptable to thee , O Lord.” Music helps me to realize that I have not been brought to this point to fail, and that music can allow me to be a channel of God’s love in the world. I have read that ” Silence is the first language of God.” I believe that music is the second language of God.

  3. Sue on April 13, 2017 at 18:10

    This is a difficult one! I think we can easily take our gifts for granted, not noticing that what comes readily to us can be difficult for others, and we can look at others and feel as if we are lacking ( that is what I do, anyway)
    I think my vocation is to inspire others and give hope, to make the difficult seem possible or bearable. This seems to be my strength as a doctor,when often I feel others are more ‘clever’ or scientific than me, and as a medical teacher.I am drawn to offering health care to those who can’t easily access it , and I think this may be why.

    • Chioma A. Nwaogu on February 4, 2021 at 22:19

      My one true call is to love God, for that is how I can fully take up my personhood, which is directly linked with love that fosters life. I feel moved to give of myself in helping people come to their real self and be who God wants them to be, in this I strive to learn and then pass on that, to those I come in contact with- I want to be an encourager of all in many ways to grow.

  4. Jaan Sass on November 20, 2016 at 00:00

    Honestly I do not know. I think sometimes I thought that I knew only to find out it was really my own dreams or passion hindering me making it harder for me to see clearly.

  5. Debbie on March 13, 2016 at 17:46

    My vocation I created my self. I have spend hours working for someone else. Hours doing my best to please other people and found that when I stopped doing that and focused on working for my family. It was a lot more fulfilling. I extend my self doing thing for them by dealing with others. I totally need my time. It is more rewarding.

  6. chuck griffis on March 13, 2016 at 14:35

    My vocation is to be a nurturer and healer. I am a nurse and love my profession, as it lets me practice my vocation. Though I tried not do do this at times in my early life, I could never escape it and finally gave up, gave in, and surrendered. I am a channel of God’s healing Presence in this world, and it is God, not I, that does this work.

  7. Betsy on March 13, 2016 at 10:55

    Thank you for this video. It helped me understand my need to connect to and cultivate God’s presence and love within me in order to encourage both within others. Quiet time for me is the soil that allows for revelation, growth and possibility.

  8. Muriel Akam on March 12, 2016 at 11:05

    I basically view my vocation as that of a carer as a wife, mother, grandmother- I nurture , help and provide for others. I’ve worked as a Food Microbiologist- again caring for the quality of the food in a professional way and making it was safe for consumers. Now, I work as a teacher and ensure that my students get good grades and are motivated. Again, the human connections are important and one cannot do any of these jobs without good relationships and keeping God at the centre of my life.

  9. Kathy on March 12, 2016 at 01:26

    My vocation is my life passion – to work with students, their teachers and parents to help these students know themselves, their gifts and how to use them to realize their dreams and to give back to their community. My strengths from God are listening to others, trying to see them as His children and caring and supporting their growth. I pray everyday for God to help me be compassionate, patient, and show others grace.

  10. Christopher Buckley on March 10, 2016 at 16:08

    God made me a musician.
    God draws me to consecrated life.
    I don’t quite know what that means.
    But I’m certain it’s a signpost toward my vocation.

  11. Eugene Wright on March 10, 2016 at 14:10

    My unique “vocation” in the world is service. I have always enjoyed serving people and being of service to people. My profession has always been in the service sector, as a Restaurateur and as a Realtor. I also serve in different roles at church and civic organizations.

  12. a city monk on March 10, 2016 at 12:59

    God calls me to be holy.
    To conform my life to His will for me.
    To ‘be’ who I already am.
    So whatever context my life moves through its deepest purpose is to form me as God calls me to be.
    Now, especially so, now… my vocation is to enlarge my heart according to God’s will for me. Every day, all over again…

  13. susan zimmerman on March 9, 2016 at 21:57

    …to ‘describe’ vocation in the ‘world’ is a question about phenomenology, which would be personally a description about me being involved, with money, accounts, and ‘stuff..’

    …a person i adore ‘describes’ what i am doing as a ‘drag…’

    …spiritually speaking, this vocation constantly pushes me to cry out to my Lord

  14. Stan on March 9, 2016 at 21:12

    Well, I certainly won’t attempt to “second-guess” God about this, so I really can’t say for sure. But I’m old enough to have made some observations. God has given me a passion for life. And I try to nourish that passion every day with joy, fun, and not taking things too seriously.

    My vocation with which I earn my material living puts me in contact with a lot of coworkers with whom I have some influence. This position is just one of countless blessings for me because it is a job which I truly enjoy. It is predominantly technical in nature, but it also entails supervising people, training them, and solving problems for them.

    I’ve had this job for many years and I’ve worked with many people. And I have been able to gain close friendships with many of them, and they look up to me for not just professional help, but also personal guidance. Helping them deal with life. My attitude of joy seems to rub off, and I can often help raise people’s spirits when they’re having s tough time with life.

    Of course this requires he ability to really listen, a good understanding of that person and their situation, and trying to think as if I were in their shoes. But I really do feel fulfilled in many ways when I reflect back, and I thank God when I realize how much of a positive influence I’ve actually been for so many folks. And to see them flourishing now and being happy is my reward. Perhaps this is at least part of what my spiritual vocation may be about …

  15. Kristi on March 9, 2016 at 19:41

    Throughout most of my adult life I feel that my vocation it is to be nurturing and be there for other people. I’m a learning support teacher by trade so I’ve always tried to be there for my students, to help them learn especially with those that struggle. And in my friendships, I’m usually seen as the therapist because I’m always there to listen, which sometimes can be a negative thing because I don’t ask for support myself as often as I should. I have a great sense of compassion, but I don’t know if that’s the vocation God wants me to have or not. I’m hoping that by taking this journey to develop my spiritual relationship I can be shown what my true vocation is.

  16. gwedhen nicholas on March 9, 2016 at 17:49

    My vocation is to minister to, uplift and bring people to God through being an organist. That is my primary vocation. I also feel called to share my thoughts about life with others; especially non-Christians. Also I, like Br Nicholas, feel the need to practice intentionally being present and of filling that present with God; making my life a spiritual practice.

  17. Mrs T on March 9, 2016 at 11:19

    This feels like a massive question! There are lots of things I’m called to dolove my family work etc but these I think should be out workings of being who I am called to be rather than my calling in and of themselves. Lots to ponder here as don’t know how to answer this!!

  18. Mryka on March 9, 2016 at 09:50

    A good friend and companion in the church told me a few years ago my unique vocation in the local parish was “to keep on saying “Wait a minute!””. Generalizing that to a career history of translation, research and teaching, I think I’d say “dancing on intellectual knife edges and paying close attention”. More and more as I get older I think that means paying close attention to God made concrete in difficult individual circumstances: maybe that’s close to what is meant by discernment. I’ve always felt incapable of solving anybody else’s problems – but I have become skilled at precisely defining the questions in detail. I think in old age I am after wisdom, with the proviso that the awe in relationship to God is the beginning of it!

  19. Russell on March 9, 2016 at 09:46

    What I think God made me for, what God intends me to do is love my fellow man. Beyond the platitudes, the scripture, the example of Christ, I feel most deeply valuable to the Kingdom when I am focused on loving another. And the array of people I have loved and do love is wide and varied. I don’t take any pride in this, I am humbled that God wants to use me in this way. As I apply my God given skills as a practitioner of the communications arts, my intent is to always approach and imbue those efforts with love and compassion. But this is not a vocation to which I am just called recently, although my conscious recognition of it has developed over a long and tortuous spiritual journey. My love of my parents and siblings, my grandparents and friends was deep and lingers long after they are gone. It is incense to my being, a fragrance that clings to me even in the worst of days. Despite my frustrations and judgementalism, I cannot shake my love for people.

  20. Rhode on March 9, 2016 at 09:33

    One of my professors described graphic design as ‘the process of creating order from chaos’. That starts with ( a lfetime of ) learning how to listen and view objectively. 36 years later as a designer, gardener, mom, Christian, a friend, a volunteer…’creating order’ or finding a clear way forward has become the strong undercurrent in my life. Giving all of it to back to God at 48 changed my perspective of how I viewed my daily work. For quite a while I thought my job as ancillary..just a way to make a living. Now, I am realizing God not only presented me with a way to make a living but a way for me to live.

  21. Jeff Lowry on March 9, 2016 at 09:05

    My primary vocation has been that of caregiver; both professionally and personally. Every time I take an archetype-themed test that is what comes out the strongest. Also, administration – doing things behind the scenes so things run smoothly
    or others can have a good experience. The latter seems a basic description of my mission (without all of the flowery language of a formal mission statement – so popular in the ’90s).

    Now I am trying look for my next mission in a way. My last relative is in her twilight years. That may mean the care giving component will be gone from my life in a matter of time. Presently I am looking towards the next step.

  22. Bill Spies on March 9, 2016 at 08:02

    I have always felt in ways blessed , blessed by good health, by family, by community, by my career, so now that I am retired giving my free time back to my church to my community by helping others however I can is my vocation.

  23. Jack on March 9, 2016 at 07:43

    Years ago on retreat at the monastery, I came away with the sense that I was made to be loved and to love — both with/by God and with/by other people — and that the two were inseparable parts of one vocation. I haven’t thought of that recently until today’s question recalled it for me. I will need to pray and reflect more on whether that still seems true and, if so, how I’m called to live into it at this stage in my life.

  24. Bettie on March 9, 2016 at 07:33

    I’m female. First is to nurture the next generation. That then extends to “nurturing” my community and finally the environment in which next generations will live..

  25. Raya on March 9, 2016 at 07:20

    This morning when I read this question to my husband, he replied without missing a beat,”Leave it better than you found it.” I think that was his father’s motto as well. I’m still thinking about my answer.

  26. Suzanne on March 9, 2016 at 06:59

    My unique vocation in the world is to partner with God by praying with others. Whether at work, home, church, the grocery – wherever it may be – as I listen for God in those conversations, God opens the way IF he is calling me to pray. I trust that it is God who is instructing me and leading me in the way to go. As he leads me he will touch my heart, open my mind and guide my words. When someone says, ‘the prayer was as if God was speaking directly to me” I am assured that the Holy Spirit was at work. This is humbling work as well as uplifting work. Even now I am assured that with God all things are possible and I offer him all of the praise and thanksgiving.

  27. Jim V on March 9, 2016 at 06:40

    My vocation in the world is bringing a certain energy and enthusiasm and ideas to a given task that injects energy into it, inspires others to move a create with a sense of purpose.

  28. Betty on March 9, 2016 at 06:25

    My unique vocation in the world is to present opportunities to others and then to help them in their goals… The final part is to find joy in choices improve their life and step away from them when they make choices which my have negative outcomes… I need to work on the final part.. I ask for gods help with this

  29. Carol G on March 9, 2016 at 06:23

    I spend my week days teaching elementary children with learning disabilities in a collaborative classroom. Several of the children come to me throughout the day only for a hug and a moment of reassurance. On the weekends I am with my elderly mother attending to her physical needs, and also trying to keep her connected to this world as she waits and prepares for the next. Regardless of my job descriptions it’s relationships that mean the most.

    • Dorothy P. on March 9, 2016 at 14:57

      I have changed vocations more than once in a relatively short lifespan, and am currently struggling to define my “work” vocation as a “young” faculty member working on her first grant. Thank you for reminding me that, regardless of what I “do” professionally it’s the people I impact — family, friends, study participants (in that relative order of importance) — that matter.

  30. Jane on March 9, 2016 at 05:28

    I have a friend who is very focused on what her passion is, in terms of how she wants to spend the time of her life, and I have wondered about my own passion and how I have spent time and how I might spend it today and in the future. I have felt sometimes like I don’t have a passion, like I see some people having a passion for making art, or for pursuing some very particular vocation. Recently, when talking with this friend, she point blank asked me what my passion was, and in that moment I realized and said something like, “My passion is to serve God by serving others.” And I think this is my passion, and maybe it didn’t look like the sparkly kind of “passion” that I hear others articulate because serving others, in the ways that I have served, is not very sparkly – it is doing lots of administrative work so that others can enjoy education programs, and it is leading some education programs for folks who are in some ways very slow and methodical learners, so the work there seems very sluggish and the results are not always clear, but I seem to keep at it, so I think this is what God has and is calling me to do and keep doing.

  31. TainuiTony on March 8, 2016 at 19:56

    This is a difficult one. I think my mission has something to do with bringing reconciliation and peace where there is conflict, hope where there is doubt. Very much in the pirit of the Prayer of St Francis of Assisi ‘God make me an instrument of your peace.’

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