A New Year brings new opportunities.

Discovering a vocation in Christ can be very exciting. It can be a joyful affair, one in which God reveals his will for us, which can feel like an amazing life affirming moment, but it can also feel very scary.

Discerning, a path or a way forward in and amongst all those feelings can seem a little bit like eating a trifle with a fork. In one sense you know it is a delicious thing to eat but despite lots of enthusiasm nothing happens quickly and the potential for making a mess is considerable.

God calls us all to serve in a vocation. Discerning how and when God is calling you is a consequence of your own relationship with God, which is continually changing. Having a faithful and disciplined prayer life is essential if we are to listen to God’s will for us and, critically, make space to hear God calling. This is where the process starts and ends. Is God calling you? Only God knows for certain but perhaps through prayer and with God’s grace we can make time to discover this together.

When I think of vocation my thoughts immediately turn to the parable of talents. (Matthew 25:14-39) Surely, from this piece of scripture we are given a stern lesson to make the most of gifts and talents we are blessed with and not to sit back or squander them. 

Though, I also feel there is a subtext present. The main characters in the parable are the master and his slave, which I interpret as a metaphor for God and his people. Nobody else is mentioned; not the slaves husband, wife or partner; nor the slaves friend; not even a trusted vocational advisor. The parable simply centres on God, his relationship with his people and his will for the talents he has entrusted us with.

It seems to me this is a stark reminder our vocation is rooted in our own individual relationship with God and this means learning to listen; or, as the scripture puts it, there will be wailing and gnashing of teeth. 

Listening then, is the key, to growing a relationship with God and to discovering and making the best of the talents he has blessed us with. Yet there is more, because we all live in one community, one body in Christ, we are called to do this together as a faithful and loving people.

And so I urge you to pray. Pray for yourselves and pray for your neighbours. Pray for your own calling and that of your brothers and sisters. Pray for the faithful and the faithless. Pray we travel together, in all we do, and that our souls grow ears for God. Pray that we listen and that Gods will is done. Simply put, just Pray!

Fr Stephen