" The call to holiness is not for a select few in the church.
" Archbishop Alexander Sample
God calls everyone to holiness. Our task is to find which path God intended for us.

That was a message from Archbishop Alexander Sample during an Aug. 20 online talk recorded in his home chapel in Northwest Portland.

Viewers of the archbishop’s regular Chapel Chats had asked him to discuss vocations. He explained that the roots of the word come from the Latin for “to call.”

“This is a call that comes from God,” Archbishop Sample said, explaining that adults should not ask children what they want to do with their lives, but instead ask what they think God wants them to do.

The fundamental vocation for all baptized Christians, the archbishop told viewers, is holiness — to be more like God, more like Jesus. The universal call to holiness was a major theme of the Second Vatican Council, he said. “The call to holiness is not for a select few in the church.”

In church teaching, paths to holiness include marriage, religious life and priesthood.

“To be a husband or a wife is a call from God,” the archbishop said. “Never should there be a sense that the vocation to marriage is lesser than vocations to religious life and priesthood.”

Marriage, ordained by God long before there was priesthood or religious life, is the fundamental vocation from which others flow, the archbishop said. Spouses, he added, are called to help each other grow in holiness and then help children grow in holiness.

Consecrated life takes many forms, he said. Sisters, brothers and priests live in religious communities that may be contemplative or apostolic. There are consecrated virgins and consecrated hermits. “That’s the path God has chosen for them to live the universal call to holiness,” the archbishop said.

Some Catholics are called to be deacons and priests who teach, sanctify and shepherd God’s people, the archbishop said. Many have dual vocations, like married deacons or priests who are both members of religious orders and clergy.

Single people who dedicate themselves to God can have a powerful path to holiness, too, the archbishop said.

“These are all ways people sanctify themselves but also serve Christ,” he said of vocations.

“We each have been in the mind and heart of God from eternity,” the archbishop said. “He has a plan for each of us. Our duty is to discover that plan.”

In his next Chapel Chat, the archbishop will discuss discernment — or how one finds God’s plans.