Each person is created by God out of love and is called to live in relationship with God by loving God, self, others, and all creation. Every baptized person has a responsibility to live a life dedicated to God and to growth in holiness. St. Augustine wrote "the human heart is restless until it rests in God". Through Baptism and Confirmation all Christians are called to follow Jesus Christ and to live out the call to holiness and service by means of one of these vocations:
single life consecrated life
sacramental marriage ordination to priesthood / diaconate
Each of these vocations is a pathway to holiness and offers a way of serving God's Kingdom here on earth.
Most people understand "a religious vocation" or vocation to the consecrated life to include priests, Brothers and Sisters who are members of religious communities. These women and men further their baptismal commitment by living according to the evangelical counsels, most often known as the vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience.
Each person who lives a life consecrated to God in poverty, chastity and obedience – no matter what form it takes – is mindful of a God who loves unconditionally and lavishly. Living with an undivided heart, believing that God is the only real treasure, and desiring to do God’s will, are radical ways of living the gospel.
In this way, consecrated persons maintain a single-minded focus on living the life that Jesus embraced. As Jesus was offered to God in the temple, so too, consecrated women and men present the gift of their lives. They serve God's people in a variety of ways, including but not limited to: work in parishes, education, the medical, social services or legal fields, on the missions. Or they may dedicate themselves to a life of solitude and prayer. Each new day provides an opportunity for deeper awareness of the call to be messengers of and witnesses to God’s love in a world that cries out for meaning.
Mary of Nazareth, the first disciple, is a great model for women and men who want to share the mission of Christ. "Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be done to me according to your word," (Lk 1:38). Her willing obedience – or listening – to the movement of the Spirit, and her wholehearted response is the goal of all who live a consecrated life.