There is currently no shared language of vocation among Catholics in the developed, post-modern world of Europe and North America. The decline in practice of the faith and a weakened understanding of Church teaching has led to reduced numbers of people entering into marriage, religious life and priesthood.
Uniquely, this book traces the development of vocation from scriptural, patristic roots through Thomism and the Reformation to engage with the modern vocational crisis. How are these two approaches compatible? The universal call to holiness is expressed in Lumen Gentium has been read by some as meaning that any vocational choice has the same value as any other such choice; is some sense of a higher calling part of the Catholic theology of vocation or not? Some claim that the single life is a vocation on a par with marriage and religious life; what kind of a theology of vocation leads to that conclusion? And is the secular use of the word 'vocation' to describe certain profession helpful or misleading in the context of Catholic theology?
This series of essays is eye-opening, mind-broadening and heart-expanding. It offers the reader a look into the rich tradition, history, and theology of vocation - lay, priestly, monastic, and religious - as well as consideration of the meaning of vocation in the present day. The essays tell a story of where we have been - looking to the times before and after the Second Vatican Council - and consider with well-reasoned ideas and thoughtful insights where we need to go in the future. We stand at a critical juncture in the history of the Church: these writings will foster a lively regard for Catholic faith. -- Abbot Gregory J. Polan, O.S.B., Conception Abbey, USA This fascinating book has something for everyone. Almost without exception, the chapters are beautifully written, scholarly but accessible to people who are not specialists. It explores how the life of every human being is a vocation, whose deepest meaning is to respond to God's call to love and freedom. It also suggests how each of us can discern what might be our particular way of realising this vocation, through marriage, religious life, priesthood or single life. I could not put it down. -- Fr Timothy Radcliffe O.P. The contributors who have a keen interest in the theology and nature of vocation have given an excellent exposition of all the major themes that will help vocations directors and promoters in the exercise of their ministry. The assistance that psychologists offer to vocations personnel and their teams are covered in one of the concluding chapters of the book. This piece, authored by Dr Peter Tyler, is quite simply essential reading for vocation ministers. It is by far the best exposition of this topic that I have seen in some years [...] I would heartily recommend this contribution to the much underdeveloped corpus of material on vocations and will be a most useful resource -- Fr Gerard Dunne OP Irish Dominican Vocations Blog 20140101