Tenth: Vocation


The Catechism explains the Tenth Commandment in these words: “Not to covet nor desire other men’s goods; but to learn and labour truly to get mine own living, and to do my duty in that state of life, unto which it shall please God to call me”. (1)


You will notice that it says, “in that state of life, unto which it shall please God to call me”.  Many people, who ought to know better, think it says, “unto which it has pleased God to call me”, as if we ought not to change our job for the better.  But that, as you can see, is not so.

Work to which anyone is called is given the name of vocation, from the Latin word voco, I call.  So a vocation is a particular calling or walk of life which God means a person to follow.  For example, everyone regards it as a vocation to be a priest, a monk or a nun, or a missionary.  And one takes up that kind of work, not for the sake of the pay, but for the sake of the work itself which is in God’s service and has its own reward.  Indeed, a person who has a real vocation would not be happy doing anything else, and would not dream of going into anything different however much more money he or she was offered.

But Christians are called to serve God and their fellow human beings in very many other ways; for example, as plumbers, teachers, farm workers, paramedics and yes, carpenters.  Sometimes it can be difficult for young people to find their vocation in life straight away.  It is important that you start thinking and praying about this in good time as the choices you make at school can help or hinder later options.  And if you decide to apply for a university or college place try and choose subjects that will help you in what you believe God is calling you to do.

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