What does God want you to do
 with your life?

Readings: Is. 8.23-9.3; Ps. 27; 1 Cor. 1.10-17; Mt. 4.12-23

It is not likely that Jesus is going to call us as directly and dramatically as he called Peter and Andrew, James and John, saying face to face: "Come, follow me." But God does call us. God knows us best. He created us, and gifted us with a unique soul and unique personality. There never was and never will be anyone quite like you or me. Just as we have unique fingerprints, we have also a unique soul. What does God want you to do with your life?

Each baptized Christian has two vocations: a general and specific vocation. Our general vocation consists in having Christ live in us and through us. We are called Christian. Even if a complete stranger meets us, that person should be able to identify us by our dress, manners, words and deeds as a Christian. When a stranger enters your home, are there things that indicate that this is a Catholic Christian home? Is there a crucifix publicly visible? Is there a Bible on a table? Is there a picture of Jesus or the Blessed Mother or some favorite saint? By appearance is your home a Catholic home? By appearance, are you a Catholic by wearing a crucifix, or Miraculous Medal? By your words, are you Catholic: praising God, not using Godís name in vain? By your deeds, are you Catholic by doing good and avoiding evil, by making sacrifices to do good things for other people, in imitation of Jesus?

Each baptized Christian also has a specific vocation. Does God want you to be married, single, or priest or sister? If you think that maybe you might get married someday may I suggest a few factors to consider. 1) The way a boy or girl treats his parents is probably the same way he will treat his spouse. Does this young person obey the parents, talk with their parents, respect their parents, do chores voluntarily for their parents? Does he or she make sacrifices to spend time with and money for other people? Do you make friends, and keep friends? Are you honest, trustworthy? Donít rush into marriage. If you do not find the right person to marry, youíre better off not marrying. 2) Some people seem to be called to the single life. The single life provides countless ways to demonstrate your love for God and others. Most of my single friends are very happy being single; not all of my married friends are happy. 3) Priesthood and sisterhood. Do you feel that God might be calling you to make God your immediate love day in and day out? Do you love God so much that you are willing to make sacrifices for God the way that married people make sacrifices for each other? When you do good things and help people, do you feel so good deep down that you can do this everyday of your life? All young people, and us older people too, ask the question: "God what do you want me to do with my life?

After you ask the question, pray quietly, and frequently. Watch and listen. What do other people say to you? Do they compliment you on sharing, on helping, on sacrificing, on your level of responsibility? If they do, excellent, give thanks to God. If people donít say these things to you, why not? If some boy or girl likes you, that is excellent; that is how God made us. More importantly, why do they like you? Is it because you are cute, or a good athlete, or have lots of money; or because you treat people well, you listen, you help, you are mature in loving God and other people. If people tell you, "you would make a good priest, or sister," listen to that. Other people see some behaviors in you that are necessary for priesthood or sisterhood. Talk with your parents, a trusted relative, a priest or sister. Most importantly, talk with God. Maybe your aunt thinks youíd be a good priest because you talk a lot; that is not a good reason. God wants you to be a priest or sister because you love a lot: you love God and neighbor in practical ways.

Three key signs I look for in specific vocations are these: 1) abilities. If the person does not possess the ability to be a good sharing, caring, communicative partner, I doubt that he/she would make a good spouse. We all grow and mature, but make sure you have the ability for whatever vocation you seek. 2) interest. Every vocation requires hard work. You have to work at marriage, at priesthood/sisterhood. Single life requires work because you canít live alone; we all need to go out of our way to be with other people, and to do good for other people. 3) desire. If you are going to do well at anything, another factor is desire. You have to have passion, for your married partner if you marry, for God and his Church if you become a priest or sister; for sharing your life and the joys of life with other people if you are single.

Most importantly, ask God quietly and frequently, "God, what do you want me to do with my life?" God knows you best. He created you, uniquely. It is not likely that Jesus is going to walk up to you like the four apostles and say directly, "Come, follow me." Instead, God will guide you through prayer and experiences. Pray quietly, pray often, "God, what do you want me to do with my life?"

Read other homilies by Father O'Malley