What is a Lay Vocation?
A vocation is the work a lay person does for God and includes everything that person does in this life. Every vocation is as unique as the person to whom that vocation belongs. Each of us has a special call, a special vocation, and it will be made up of many elements unique to us and is designed to help us become saints. A Lay person is any person who has not received Holy Orders (anyone not a deacon, priest or bishop).
What are the elements that make up a vocation? Every single activity in which a person can legitimately be involved can be part of a person’s vocation. Any activity done for the glory of God and offered up to God, no matter how small or ordinary (like doing dishes), can be part of a vocation.
How do I figure out what is part of MY vocation?
Begin by cataloging what is true about you now. What is your education? Where do you work? Are you married or single? Do you have children? Are you the primary caretaker for an elderly relative? Do you do volunteer work? Do you have a hobby? the list of things is nearly endless.
I can say firmly that part of my unique vocation is marriage because I am already married. God never has us abandon current commitments like marriage, which is a sacrament and intended to be a permanent state; we can safely conclude that if married, then being married is part of our vocation. Also, being married, I know that I will not be entering into a convent anytime soon!
Single people are in a different place and have many options open to them that is not open to me as a married person. What can I say for certain? Well, I can say for certain that my vocation does not include ANY of the options I gave up when I married my husband. I am a mother, and so my vocation includes child rearing for those children still living at home. We home school, and so educator is part of the vocation that is mine.
What else can I say is truly part of my vocation? Well, my talents and education are elements of my vocation. I write and this requires that I make time for writing and offer that writing up to God. Using all portions of my education in many different ways is also part of my vocation. When I offer my knowledge and experience to God for sanctification and for His glory then it becomes part of helping me become a saint.
I also am the primary person in our house for doing dishes. Doing a good job keeping up with the dishes is a very mundane part of my personal and unique vocation. I take it and sanctify it by offering it as a service to God. By choosing to fulfill my obligations in housekeeping and parenting and writing, I am closing the door to other goods such as more graduate school. It is all part of my own unique vocation as a lay person.
We are all called to become saints and each one of us has a vocational call that will help us to attain the goal of a holy life.