Conversion and Mission


Vocation has two-fold fundamental dimensions: on one hand, every vocation implies a personal conversion; on the other hand, a vocation is always linked to a mission (a vocation is never selfish, rather, it is always an act of love).




When we think of vocation as a challenge to discern and to live, without realizing it, we are led by countless questions: “What for? In what way? Who do you help? What are the risks? Who pays the expenses and how will they do it?” (Laudato Si’, n. 185) Everything seems to act as an obstacle and the questions pile up and often appear associated with a feeling of guilt: “Why do I have to be different? Couldn’t I wish to be the same as everyone else?”

Vocation presents itself as something specific and special for every human being, who is unique. From this perspective, vocation appears to be something linked to individualism. However, nothing could be further from reality. Vocation, being personal, is never individualistic or collective, it is always unique and with a community dimension (if that were not the case, it would be mutilating the human being by removing its relational and social elements).

In addition to this personal-community sense, the vocation itself has fundamental dimensions that are transversal to all human fulfilment: on one hand, every vocation implies a personal conversion (what one is and the faith one professes); on the other hand, a vocation is always linked to a mission (there are no vocations whose center is the individual–a vocation is never selfish, rather, it is always an act of love).

Sometimes, we associate and assume the word conversion with a set of rites, practices and/or a series of behaviors. However, talking about conversion is going further! Conversion cannot be confused with something imposed, nor as something extrinsic to human beings. It does not consist of a given behavior at a given time or circumstance, but an authenticity of life. In this sense, conversion cannot be understood from an ethical level, but from the sense of personal existence/accomplishment and the authenticity of the human essence.

Levels Of Conversion
The first conversion to which the human being is called during vocational discernment is the conversion to what the person truly is. Here, converting means pushing away the “ghosts,” the illusions and whims that often cloud our vision and/or blind us to our own essence. The central importance of vocation accompaniment is when the accompanying person helps us free ourselves from the chains that we are going through, out of our fear or pride, and applying it on our image. Converting to the reality of who we are is, therefore, a first step, common to every vocation.

The second step in conversion is linked to coherence: coherence of life–so that there is no division between what we are and what we want to be to live authentically–and effective coherence between what we say and what we do.

This last aspect opens up a vast range of dimensions to consider. In a more immediate sense, the coherence between what we say about ourselves and what we dream for ourselves and what we do/live in our daily lives. On the other hand, this consistency implies that the professed faith is a lived reality and not just words. Now, in either case, conversion becomes coherent, something that is in no way confused with behavioral automatisms, but with the truth and authenticity of life.

Mission At The Heart Of Vocation
Conversion exists as a path traversed each day and not as something definitive that occurs at a certain point in life, which remains forever. Despite having an enormous personal dimension, insofar as it is based on the essence of who we are, conversion is never an end in itself.

It is always associated with a mission, with a gift of love that becomes fruitful and life-giving for the world–only in this way can one speak of personal fulfillment, the fullness of life, and true happiness. For this very reason, Pope Francis does not fail to invite “all Christians to explain this dimension of their conversion, allowing the strength and light of grace received to extend also to the relationship with other creatures and with the world around them” (Laudato Si’, n. 221).

As far as the vocational mission is concerned, we must also understand the meaning of mission–this too is unique and specific to each person. It meets the authenticity of the human being, and, in this sense, it is inseparable from the path of conversion. The vocational mission will embody and manifest the truth that resides in the heart of each one, in which the vocation is mirrored, making it visible to all.

A vocation becomes a gift as the mission is carried out. The mission highlights what the person is, what he believes in, and what gives meaning to his existence. Without a mission, vocational desire and discernment would never know their consummation and fullness.

In missionary activity, all forms of vocation meet, since “living the vocation of guardians of God’s work is not something optional or a secondary aspect of Christian experience, but an essential part of a virtuous existence” (Laudato Si’, n. 217). Therefore, the resulting mission that makes the vocation materialize implies, more than an option to “do something,” the experience of authentic spirituality that, through love/charity, enables the integral maturation and sanctification of the human being in its entirety.

By understanding vocation as an act of authentic love, it becomes possible to understand better the scope and importance of conversion and mission in the vocational journey. In love, one manages to overcome the challenges that present themselves whenever one tries to live in total coherence of life. It is also in it that the mission–however specific it may be–becomes fruitful and a gift for all humanity. Vocation becomes, therefore, a spiral of happiness in which the coherence of life is increasingly manifested: in what we think, say, and do.

Trying to live a vocation without these two dimensions is to confine and restrict the truth of the human essence and, consequently, mutilate the human being, his happiness, and the meaning of his existence. We do not take this vocational path alone. Instead, “the great wealth of Christian spirituality, which comes from twenty centuries of personal and community experiences, makes a magnificent contribution to the effort to renew humanity.” (Laudato Si’, n. 216).

The Companion Who Helps
Thus, from those who propose to go through a process of vocational discernment, there will always be a wider range: the companion who helps in the discernment, the community where vocational growth takes place, and all those who, in one way or another, help as the vocation matures. They contribute to vocation becoming a reality that emerges and manifests itself as the culmination of a path of conversion–always in progress–and the fulfillment of the inherent mission.

Share Your Thoughts

All comments are moderated

From The Same Issue

The articles and content about this issue

From The Same Issue

The articles and content about this issue

From This Topic

The articles and content about this topic

From This Topic

The articles and content about this topic

Explore Other Topics

Browse other coverage

Explore Other Topics

Browse other coverage


Presents, discusses and draws readers to reflect on issues of outmost relevance to the world today.


Very often, mission is carried out in frontier situations around the world. Those who embrace these situations have much to share.


Writer Ilsa Reyes will be exploring the richness of Pope Francis’s latest encyclical Fratelli Tutti with a view of helping our readers to get a grasp of the this beautiful papal document.


Puts to the front committed and inspiring people around the world who embrace humanitarian and religious causes with altruism and passion.


Focus on a given theme of interest touching upon social, economic and religious issues.


As the Philippines prepares to celebrate 500 years of the arrival of Christianity. Fr. James Kroeger leads us in this series into a discovery journey of the landmark events in the history of faith in the Philippine archipelago.


Aims to nurture and inspire our hearts and minds while pondering upon timely themes.


The large archipelago of the Philippines, in its richness of peoples and cultures, offers varied and challenging situations for mission.


Reflections and vocation stories that shape up the lives of young people.


As humor and goodness of heart are qualities of Christian and missionary life, the new column “Mission is fun” will be publishing some anecdotes and stories that have happened in a missionary context to lighten up the spirits and trigger a smile in our faces.


To help readers of World Mission live this year dedicated to Ecumenism, Interreligious Dialogue and Indigenous Peoples, Tita Puangco, writer and lecturer, shares in this section insights on the spirituality of communion.


A historic view of the Catholic movements that emerged from the grassroots as an inspiration by the Holy Spirit.


On the Year of Ecumenism, Interreligious Dialogue and Indigenous Peoples, radio host and communicator Ilsa Reyes, in her monthly column, encourages Christians and people of good will to be one with their fellow people of other sects, religions and tribes.


Questions to a personality of the Church or secular world on matters of interest that touch upon the lives of people.


News from the Church, the missionary world and environment that inform and form the consciences.


A feature on environmental issues that are affecting the whole world with the view of raising awareness and prompting action.


The editor gives his personal take on a given topic related to the life of the Church, the society or the world.


A monthly column on themes touching the lives of young people in the Year of the Youth in the Philippines by radio host and communicator I lsa Reyes.


A missionary living in the Chinese world shares his life-experiences made up of challenges and joyous encounters with common people.


Life stories of people who deserve to be known for who they were, what they did and what they stood for in their journey on earth.


Stories of people whom a missionary met in his life and who were touched by Jesus in mysterious ways.


Critical reflection from a Christian perspective on current issues.


Comboni missionary Fr. Lorenzo Carraro makes a journey through history pinpointing landmark events that changed the course of humanity.


A biographical sketch of a public person, known for his/her influence in the society and in the Church, showing an exemplary commitment to the service of others.


Gives fresh, truthful, and comprehensive information on issues that are of concern to all.


A column aimed at helping the readers live their Christian mission by focusing on what is essential in life and what it entails.


Peoples, events, religion, culture and the society of Asia in focus.


The human heart always searches for greatness in God’s eyes, treading the path to the fullness of life - no matter what it takes.


The subcontinent of India with its richness and variety of cultures and religions is given center stage.


The African continent in focus where Christianity is growing the fastest in the world.


Well-known writer and public speaker, Fr. Jerry Orbos, accompanies our journey of life and faith with moments of wit and inspiration based on the biblical and human wisdom.


On the year dedicated to St. Ignatius of Loyala, Fr. Lorenzo Carraro walks us through the main themes of the Ignatian spirituality.


Fr. John Taneburgo helps us to meditate every month on each of the Seven Last Words that Jesus uttered from the cross.


In this section, Fr. Lorenzo delves into the secrets and depths of the Sacred Scriptures opening for us the treasures of the Sacred Book so that the reader may delight in the knowledge of the Word of God.


Reflections about the synodal journey on a conversational and informal style to trigger reflection and sharing about the synodal path the Church has embarked upon.

Shopping Cart