Every minister of the Church has been called to a different vocation, uniquely their own:
And he gave some as apostles, others as prophets, others as evangelists, others as pastors and teachers, to equip the holy ones for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ. -Ephesians 4:11-12, NAB
In the past, we have studied how we are each called to use our spiritual gifts in our work for the Church, and in today’s verse, St. Paul highlights that specifically for those who minister to the Church.
Some ministers will lead the Church in our local dioceses and archdioceses. Others will spend more time evangelizing – traveling the country to share the Good News. And some may take that a step further as missionaries, living and working alongside some of the world’s poorest people.
Each one of these different ministers plays an important role in the work of the Church. For the Church to grow, we need to continue to reach out to more people. For the Church to mature, we need to teach the people the faith. For the Church to remain strong, we need leadership that will not give in to the pressures of society.
You may know someone who is discerning a call to vocations, or you may be discerning it yourself. In that discernment process, remember that there is no hierarchy to these positions – one is not more important than any other. One should choose a vocation based on the gifts God has given them, and not because of the status of these positions.
As a lay person, we may hear about the struggles someone faces when discerning vocations. Discerning that God is calling you to something more may not be the tough part. For some, discerning specific vocations, figuring out exactly what God is calling them to, is the difficulty.
There are a number of different vocations within the Church, and each has a purpose. Without them, the Church would not exist as it does today. May God continue to bless us with the men and women who answer the call to serve the Church.