Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Life as a Vocation

The following text is taken from Pope John Paul II's words on September 14, 2000 reflecting on the upcoming World Day of Prayer for Vocations on May 6, 2001.
My thoughts now go to the many young people who thirst for values and yet who are often unable to find the way that leads to them. Truly, only Christ is the Way, the Truth and the Life. And so we need to lead them to meet the Lord and help them to establish a deep relationship with Him. Jesus must enter their world, take on their history and open their hearts, so that they learn to know him ever more, as they follow the footprints of his love.

...I think of consecrated persons, men and women, called to witness to the truth that our only hope is in Christ; that only from Him is it possible to draw the energy required to live out their life-choices; that only with Him can people meet the deep needs of the salvation of humanity. May the presence and the service of consecrated persons open the hearts and the minds of young people to horizons of hope filled with God, and may this presence and service teach them humility, and liberality in loving and in serving. May the meaningfulness they bring to the Church and to culture through their consecrated lives, be ever better translated into specific pastoral contributions, suitable for educating and forming young people to hear the call of the Lord and to have the freedom of spirit to be able to respond to it with generosity and enthusiasm.

...We read in the book of the Acts of the Apostles that the first Christians "devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers" (2, 42). Every encounter with the Word of God is a propitious moment for mentioning vocation. Frequent contact with Sacred Scripture helps us to grasp the manner and the actions that God uses when choosing, teaching, and making us sharers in his love.

The celebration of the Eucharist and prayer make us understand better the words of Jesus: "The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; pray therefore the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest" (Mt 9, 37-38; cf. Lk 10, 2). When one prays for vocations, one learns to look with the wisdom of the Gospel at the world and at the needs of life and the salvation of every human being. Moreover, one lives the charity and compassion of Christ towards humanity, and one has the grace to be able to say, following the example of Our Lady: "Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word" (Lk 1, 38).

I invite everyone to join me in imploring the Lord, so that there will never be a lack of labourers in his harvest:

Holy Father, eternal source of existence and love,
who, in living man, show the splendour of your glory,
and who put in his heart the seed of your call,
let no one, by reason of our negligence, ignore or lose this gift,
but may everyone walk, with wholehearted generosity,
towards the realization of your Love.

Lord Jesus, who in your pilgrimage along the roads of Palestine,
chose and called the apostles and entrusted to them their task
of preaching the Gospel, feeding the faithful and celebrating divine worship,
ensure that today, too, your Church may not lack
numerous holy priests, who can bring to all
the fruits of your death and resurrection.

Holy Spirit, who sanctify the Church
with the constant pouring out of your gifts,
place into the hearts of those called to the consecrated life
a deep-rooted and resolute passion for the Kingdom,
so that with a generous and unconditioned "yes",
they may place their entire existences at the service of the Gospel.

Most holy Virgin, who without hesitation
offered yourself to the Almighty
for the carrying out of his plan of salvation,
pour trust into the hearts of young people
so that there may always be zealous pastors
who are able to guide the Christian people on the way of life,
and consecrated souls who may know how to witness,
in chastity, poverty, and obedience,
to the freeing presence of your risen Son.

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