Revisiting the Idea of Vocation

Revisiting the Idea of Vocation: Theological Explorations

edited by John C. Haughey
Copyright Date: 2004
Pages: 264
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  • Book Info
    Revisiting the Idea of Vocation
    Book Description:

    Until recently theologians have been in a deep slumber about the subject of vocations. This volume represents one of the first awakenings in the theological community to this subject. The ten contributors, all theologians at Loyola University Chicago, present original essays that explore vocations, or callings.

    eISBN: 978-0-8132-2056-7
    Subjects: Religion

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. vii-viii)
    John C. Haughey
  4. Introduction
    (pp. ix-xiv)
    John C. Haughey

    This volume is a collection of ten essays composed by theologians from Loyola University Chicago, members either of its theology department’s graduate faculty or of the Institute of Pastoral Studies, with one happy exception, which I will mention shortly. The faculty members’ contributions have been determined by their own areas of expertise or academic interest. They have taken seriously and critically the idea of call in their respective essays, primarily to stimulate faculty in other disciplines to reflect on their understanding of themselves as called (if that is how they experience their work in academe) or of the relationship of...

  5. The Three Conversions Embedded in Personal Calling
    (pp. 1-23)
    John C. Haughey

    The more I looked at this idea of call, of being called, of having a call, the more obscurities began to develop in my mind. I decided to look at it under a different lens than has been previously used to understand it. That lens is the notion of conversion. Not conversion from no faith to faith or from one faith to another. The conversion I have in mind is threefold. It is a conversion, first, from the biases one brings to interpreting reality to accurately hearing the ever-unfolding call that reality itself emits. Following Bernard Lonergan, I will call...

  6. The Call of Creation
    (pp. 24-40)
    Camilla Burns

    We exist. The fact of our existence is laden with a biblical importance that gives direction and meaning to our entire unfolding life. According to the first story of the Bible, everything created is “called” into being by the word of God. The phrase, “God said let there be …” precedes each day of the creation story. On the sixth day, God calls the human person into being. “God said: let us make humankind.” To be is to be called. Foundational to biblical understanding is the common summons of all creation into being by the word of God. At the...

  7. Vocation and Call as Individual and Communal Imperatives: Some Reflections on Judaism
    (pp. 41-52)
    Edward Breuer

    The very exercise of writing an essay exploring Jewish perspectives on religious vocation and call, I will admit, seems somewhat unnatural and contrived. My initial reaction to this project, in fact, was one of incomprehension, tinged with a touch of exasperation: incomprehension because the notion of vocation does not appear to be significantly operative in Jewish teachings, and exasperation because the very question thereby appeared to ask one religious tradition to speak—conceptually, if not literally—in the language of another.

    It is generally unwise, of course, to speak of any tradition as a monolithic, historically homogeneous entity, especially one...

  8. “My food is to do the will of the one who sent me” (John 4:34): Jesus as Model of Vocation in the Gospel of John
    (pp. 53-76)
    Urban C. von Wahlde

    For many people, to speak of a “vocation” in a religious context, particularly the Roman Catholic context, is to speak of a call to the priesthood, or life in a religious order. When it is used in a purely secular sense, the term can be used as a synonym for “career.” Here the term will be understood in a sense slightly different from either of these but related to both, for “vocation” can also refer to the conviction that one’s life, in whatever specific form, can be lived in such a way as to cooperate, or be in touch, with...

  9. Islamic Concepts of Vocation
    (pp. 77-96)
    Marcia Hermansen

    The following essay will explore Islamic reflections on vocation. Christian approaches to the idea of vocation have included the concept of a specific calling to some form of the religious life, as well as broader constructions of the dignity and meaningfulness of all types of work. The sources for these various Christian articulations of vocation have included the Hebrew Bible, the New Testament, the Neoplatonic tradition, and the writings of theologians, such as Thomas Aquinas and Martin Luther.

    “Vocation” per se—in other words, some Arabic equivalent of the concept of “calling”—has not been strongly marked in Islamic theological...

  10. Vocation and the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola
    (pp. 97-118)
    Paul F. Harman

    Pick up a good standard history of Western education and you will come upon the name of Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits). Although the Jesuits have been associated with teaching and learning for more than 450 years, Ignatius never provided them with an explicit theory of education. What he did leave as a lasting gift to the Jesuits and to the Church was a small book that is considered to be one of the classics of Western spirituality: the Spiritual Exercises.

    Since the sixteenth century, the spiritual insights of the Exercises have had an...

  11. Trying to Follow a Call: Vocation and Discernment in Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress
    (pp. 119-140)
    Mark A. McIntosh

    If we think of vocation in terms of our own particular choice of a career in life, then John Bunyan’s seventeenth-century Puritan allegory, The Pilgrim’s Progress from This World to That Which Is to Come, must seem an odd tool for exploring vocation. It is, after all, about a journey from damnation to salvation, and involves a fairly dire critique of the very world in which most of us are trying to follow our individual callings. But suppose what we usually think of as our “vocation” were really only an emerging thread—which sometimes we can follow and sometimes only...

  12. Protestantism and the Vocation of Higher Education
    (pp. 141-162)
    D. H. Williams

    For American Protestants, there is nothing new about the concept of vocation. It has been the driving force, often implicitly, behind the Protestant imperative during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries to orchestrate a moral, spiritual, and educational climate within our culture. The very idea of possessing a providential calling is what once fueled commitment for reforming the social order, moral responsibility, and the founding of institutions of higher learning. What characterized that “calling” and how its obligatory nature slipped away from Protestant hands into near oblivion is a story that needs to be told. It is chiefly a story not...

  13. Psychological Dimensions of the Discernment of Vocation
    (pp. 163-195)
    John P. Neafsey

    At the heart of the vocation of St. Ignatius of Loyola was a conviction that he was called to “help souls.”¹ Although he responded to this calling in a variety of ways during his lifetime (1491–1556), the unique method that Ignatius developed for helping souls, known as the Spiritual Exercises, has become his greatest legacy to soul searchers of subsequent ages.² This psychologically sophisticated system of spirituality and spiritual guidance is still in use and is intended to help people to discover or discern their true vocation or calling, to find and follow the path that best embodies who...

  14. Listening for a Life’s Work: Contemporary Callings to Ministry
    (pp. 196-219)
    Mary Elsbernd

    As a member of a religious congregation for many years, I have been surprised and inspired by the frequent reference to call as a reason for application into the Master of Divinity (M.Div.) program that I direct at the Institute of Pastoral Studies (IPS) at Loyola University Chicago. The M.Div. is a professional degree that prepares persons for major ministerial leadership in the church, church-sponsored institutions, or in the marketplace. Although the M.Div. is widely recognized as the degree for ordained ministry, the M.Div. at the Institute of Pastoral Studies grows out of the baptismal call to ministry. In other...

  15. After Words
    (pp. 220-226)

    We, the authors of this volume, did not want to bring our volume to a close without recording our collective state of mind about the subject of calling at the end of the project. Naturally, being faculty, we were not of one mind. But, by the same token, we did not find ourselves deeply divided. What follows is my own rendering of the conversation that took place after we had completed our individual contributions and had read and discussed one another’s work.

    This epilogue is meant to hint at the depth of the contributors to this volume and the breadth...

  16. Contributors
    (pp. 227-230)
  17. Scriptural Index
    (pp. 231-233)
  18. General Index
    (pp. 234-249)
  19. Back Matter
    (pp. 250-251)