Peter McVerry on vocation

I’ve just completed an email interview with Peter McVerry SJ, which will be posted in full next week. Fr McVerry is a social activist, campaigner and founder of homelessness charity The Peter McVerry Trust.

One of the things that fascinates me in talking with Jesuits is their sense of vocation, and how they describe what to those on the outside can seem a strange and mystical sense of calling to a particular ministry. It’s something I want to get in about as much as possible. Accordingly I always ask interviewees: How did you experience the feeling of being called? Here’s what Fr McVerry has to say:

I didn’t experience “being called.” I think going into the priesthood is much like any other vocation. You decide how you would like your life to be lived, and you make a judgement that in the priesthood you can achieve what you would like to do with your life. I don’t think it is much different to deciding to be a doctor, or a lawyer or whatever, except that God is explicit in the decision. The decision is a belief that this is what God wants me to do with my life, which for many others might be implicit or non-existent, but in the case of priesthood, the belief that this is what God wants is at the forefront. But there is no big feeling of being “called”.

What do you think? How does this tally with your experience of vocation: to religious life, to a particular career or ministry or service, to a way of life or a relationship? Leave a comment and let me know.

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