By Kimberly Hahn
Kimberly Hahn is a Catholic speaker and author who for decades has shared her wisdom with other wives and mothers. She is the author of several books, including Chosen and Cherished: Biblical Wisdom for Your Marriage.
God created you and me for a purpose. Our destiny is not based on our talents, skills, abilities, gifts, education, wealth or health, though these may be useful. God’s plan for our lives is based on God’s grace and our response to him. All that we have is a gift from God. What we are is a gift back to him.
Ephesians 1:12 states that “we who first hoped in Christ have been destined and appointed to live for the praise of his glory.” God’s plan is that our lives bring him glory. He has chosen us, in love, to be a living reflection of him. Part of our response to him is our vocation, a particular way of service that allows us to grow in holiness and become more like him.
Saint Josemaría Escrivá frequently took questions from the audience following a conference. When asked about someone’s vocation, Saint Josemaría would inquire if the person was married. If so, he requested the name of the spouse. His response would then be something like, “Gabriel, you have a divine vocation and it has a name: Sarah.”
The vocation of marriage is not a general call but a particular call to marriage with a specific person. The spouse becomes an integral part of the other’s path to holiness.
Sometimes people have a limited understanding of vocation, using the term only for people called to the priesthood or religious life. But God calls us all to holiness, and the path to that holiness includes a particular vocation. For some the path is single or consecrated life; for many more it is marriage.
In marriage there are many opportunities every single day to deny ourselves, to take up our cross and follow the Lord in holiness. God does not overlook married people! I have had days when dinner is late, a child is cranky, the phone rings and rings, and Scott’s late getting home. My mind can drift to a scene of nuns praying peacefully in the convent, waiting for the dinner bell to ring. Oh, to be a nun for a day!
I am overwhelmed, caught up in how challenging my vocation is. Then I realize that it is no more challenging than any other vocation. It is just more challenging for me, because this is God’s call on my life. (Numerous nuns have since reassured me that convents are not always the peaceful bliss I picture.)
Marriage to Scott is how God refines me and calls me to holiness; marriage to me is how God refines Scott. We have told our children, “You can pursue any vocation—consecrated, single or married; we will support you in any call. But what is nonnegotiable is that you know the Lord, love him and serve him with your whole heart.”
Once two seminarians were visiting, and one of our children waddled through the room with a very full diaper—the odor was unmistakable. One seminarian turned to the other and jokingly said, “I’m sure glad I’m called to the priesthood!”
I immediately shot back (with a smile), “Just be sure you don’t choose one vocation to avoid the challenges of the other.”
That bit of wisdom applies both ways: One should not choose the vocation of marriage to avoid the challenges of consecrated single life, nor consecrated life to avoid the challenges of marriage. God made each of us for a particular vocation, and there will be great joy in doing what we were made to do. God’s call will never be a vocation we do not want.
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Chosen and Cherished offers biblical insight that will nurture your heart—and your marriage. With advice on everything from prioritizing relationships, communication, financial goals, and more, Kimberly Hahn invites you to boldly embrace Proverbs 31.