Christians are called to discipleship.  Every Christian, by merit of their baptism and the unfolding of the grace of the Holy Spirit, is called to share in the common priesthood of all the faithful.  This is popularly known as the priesthood of all believers.  As Christians, we are called to participate in Christ’s ministry as prophet, priest and king, each of us according to our own vocation.  There are countless ministries to which a Christian might be called, in a variety of contexts and situations.  Some are called to work with children and young people, while others are called to work with the elderly and infirm.  Some may be called to visit the sick and the bereaved.  Others may be called to evangelism and mission, while others might be called to a ministry of prayer.

The ministerial priesthood is the means by which Christ unceasingly builds up and leads his Church.  For this reason, those who are called to ordained ministry as deacon, priest or bishop receive the grace to perform their ministry through the sacrament of Holy Orders.  To be called to serve in the ordained ministry is not to be promoted, for the ordained are called to be servants. The ministerial priesthood is at the service of the common priesthood.  Ordained ministry is a very specific calling and those who offer themselves to the Church for this ministry should only do so after a period of discernment.  Ordained ministry is highly rewarding, but it should be understood that it is also a great burden.

There might be some also who are called to serve the Lord in the professed religious life.  This might be a calling to serve in the monastic life as a monk or a nun.  The monastic life is a personal commitment to Christ, to live according to the vows of poverty, chastity and obedience and stability.  Through a daily dying to the old nature, and rising to the new and eternal life in Christ, those who serve in the monastic life bring to a broken world the Gospel of hope and joy.

For further infomation about the ordained ministy, please visit the God Calling Vocations website or the Diocese of Bristol’s Ministry Development webpage.

For further information about the monastic life please visit the Religious Vocations UK or the Religious of Orthodox Tradition websites.