Skip to comments.Pope Francis: "Listen and follow Jesus" for Day of Prayer for Vocations
Posted on 01/16/2014 4:05:41 AM PST by markomalley
Pope Francis invites young people to listen to and follow Jesus, and to allow yourselves to be transformed interiorly by his words in his Message for the World Day of Prayer for Vocations, which is marked on May 11.
A vocation is a fruit that ripens in a well cultivated field of mutual love that becomes mutual service, in the context of an authentic ecclesial life, writes Pope Francis. No vocation is born of itself or lives for itself. A vocation flows from the heart of God and blossoms in the good soil of faithful people, in the experience of fraternal love.
The full text of the Message is below
Vocations, Witness to the Truth
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
1. The Gospel says that Jesus went about all the cities and villages... When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, The harvest is plentiful, but the labourers are few; pray therefore the Lord of the harvest to send out labourers into his harvest (Mt 9:35-38). These words surprise us, because we all know that it is necessary first to plow, sow and cultivate to then, in due time, reap an abundant harvest. Jesus says instead that the harvest is plentiful. But who did the work to bring about these results? There is only one answer: God. Clearly the field of which Jesus is speaking is humanity, us. And the efficacious action which has borne much fruit is the grace of God, that is, communion with Him (cf. Jn 15:5). The prayer which Jesus asks of the Church therefore concerns the need to increase the number of those who serve his Kingdom. Saint Paul, who was one of Gods fellow workers, tirelessly dedicated himself to the cause of the Gospel and the Church. The Apostle, with the awareness of one who has personally experienced how mysterious Gods saving will is, and how the initiative of grace is the origin of every vocation, reminds the Christians of Corinth: You are Gods field (1 Cor 3:9). That is why wonder first arises in our hearts over the plentiful harvest which God alone can bestow; then gratitude for a love that always goes before us; and lastly, adoration for the work that he has accomplished, which requires our free consent in acting with him and for him.
2. Many times we have prayed with the words of the Psalmist: It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture (Ps 100:3); or: The Lord has chosen Jacob for himself, Israel as his own possession (Ps 135:4). And yet we are Gods possession not in the sense of a possession that renders us slaves, but rather of a strong bond that unites us to God and one another, in accord with a covenant that is eternal, for his steadfast love endures for ever (Ps 136). In the account of the calling of the prophet Jeremiah, for example, God reminds us that he continually watches over each one of us in order that his word may be accomplished in us. The image is of an almond branch which is the first tree to flower, thus announcing lifes rebirth in the springtime (cf Jer 1:11-12). Everything comes from him and is his gift: the world, life, death, the present, the future, but the Apostle assures us you are Christs; and Christ is Gods (1 Cor 3:23). Hence the way of belonging to God is explained: it comes about through a unique and personal relationship with Jesus, which Baptism confers on us from the beginning of our rebirth to new life. It is Christ, therefore, who continually summons us by his word to place our trust in him, loving him with all the heart, with all the understanding, and with all the strength (Mk 12:33). Therefore every vocation, even within the variety of paths, always requires an exodus from oneself in order to centre ones life on Christ and on his Gospel. Both in married life and in the forms of religious consecration, as well as in priestly life, we must surmount the ways of thinking and acting that do not conform to the will of God. It is an exodus that leads us on a journey of adoration of the Lord and of service to him in our brothers and sisters (Address to the International Union of Superiors General, 8 May 2013). Therefore, we are all called to adore Christ in our hearts (1 Pet 3:15) in order to allow ourselves to be touched by the impulse of grace contained in the seed of the word, which must grow in us and be transformed into concrete service to our neighbour. We need not be afraid: God follows the work of his hands with passion and skill in every phase of life. He never abandons us! He has the fulfilment of his plan for us at heart, and yet he wishes to achieve it with our consent and cooperation.
3. Today too, Jesus lives and walks along the paths of ordinary life in order to draw near to everyone, beginning with the least, and to heal us of our infirmities and illnesses. I turn now to those who are well disposed to listen to the voice of Christ that rings out in the Church and to understand what their own vocation is. I invite you to listen to and follow Jesus, and to allow yourselves to be transformed interiorly by his words, which are spirit and life (Jn 6:62). Mary, the Mother of Jesus and ours, also says to us: Do whatever he tells you (Jn 2:5). It will help you to participate in a communal journey that is able to release the best energies in you and around you. A vocation is a fruit that ripens in a well cultivated field of mutual love that becomes mutual service, in the context of an authentic ecclesial life. No vocation is born of itself or lives for itself. A vocation flows from the heart of God and blossoms in the good soil of faithful people, in the experience of fraternal love. Did not Jesus say: By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another (Jn 13:35)?
4. Dear brothers and sisters, this high standard of ordinary Christian living (cf John Paul II, Apostolic Letter Novo Millennio Ineunte, 31) means sometimes going against the tide and also encountering obstacles, outside ourselves and within ourselves. Jesus himself warns us: the good seed of Gods word is often snatched away by the Evil one, blocked by tribulation, and choked by worldly cares and temptation (cf Mt 13:19-22). All of these difficulties could discourage us, making us fall back on seemingly more comfortable paths. However, the true joy of those who are called consists in believing and experiencing that he, the Lord, is faithful, and that with him we can walk, be disciples and witnesses of Gods love, open our hearts to great ideals, to great things. We Christians were not chosen by the Lord for small things; push onwards toward the highest principles. Stake your lives on noble ideals! (Homily at Holy Mass and the Conferral of the Sacrament of Confirmation, 28 April 2013). I ask you bishops, priests, religious, Christian communities and families to orient vocational pastoral planning in this direction, by accompanying young people on pathways of holiness which, because they are personal, call for a genuine training in holiness capable of being adapted to every persons need. This training must integrate the resources offered to everyone with both the traditional forms of individual and group assistance, as well as the more recent forms of support offered in associations and movements recognized by the Church (Novo Millennio Ineunte, 31).
Let us dispose our hearts therefore to being good soil, by listening, receiving and living out the word, and thus bearing fruit. The more we unite ourselves to Jesus through prayer, Sacred Scripture, the Eucharist, the Sacraments celebrated and lived in the Church and in fraternity, the more there will grow in us the joy of cooperating with God in the service of the Kingdom of mercy and truth, of justice and peace. And the harvest will be plentiful, proportionate to the grace we have meekly welcomed into our lives. With this wish, and asking you to pray for me, I cordially impart to you all my Apostolic Blessing.
From the Vatican, 15 January 2014
Not that it isn't always good to pray for vocations ... but wouldn't it make more sense to issue this message in May?
They always issue the papal messages for "World Day Of ______" far in advance of the day.
I’m sure they have a reason.
Feb 2, 2014 — World Day for Consecrated Life
May 11, 2014 — World Day of Prayer for Vocations
Last Sunday of Oct — Priesthood Sunday
Nov 2-8, 2014 — National Vocation Awareness Week
Plan something special for your church during these special days/weeks.
Our local Serra Club, for example, did a spiritual bouquet card for our priest last year — or people could put their own cards into the basket..
“... the World Day of Prayer for Vocations, which is marked on May 11.
Not that it isn’t always good to pray for vocations ... but wouldn’t it make more sense to issue this message in May?”
This Pope is like our President. He’s on stage just about every other day. Always in the headlines. No offense, but he needs to just learn his new job and stay off the podium for a while. Way too much face time, indeed. Neither Benedict nor even John Paul II sought the limelight quite as much as this Pope seems to want to do. He needs to give it a rest for a while and relax. He’ll make less verbal gaffes that way.
This year is the 50th anniversary of the World Day of Prayer for Vocations. One may reasonably assume that all the Popes during this 50-year period have issued a document to remind the Church of this. Issuing a document is neither being “on the podium” nor “face time” nor “on stage.” It is the kind of thing Popes do, telling the Church about this or that.
I think comparing any decent person to Infanticide Obama is offensive, no matter how many “no offense” disclaimers are claimed.
Having thought it through, the timing kind of makes sense. The letter sets the theme, so to speak, and now Bishops’ Councils around the world will plan publicity, create resources for diocesan vocations directors, etc., and eventually, in May, someone will remind priests, “Sunday is the World Day of Prayer for Vocations. The theme is (whatever). Remember to mention it!”
“I think comparing any decent person to Infanticide Obama is offensive, no matter how many no offense disclaimers are claimed”
My how you twisted my intent. I said he was like Obama in wanting to be in the limelight, not that they were the same in all other ways. Although they may be similar in their social justice viewpoints. I think we probably have a socialist Pope here. You most likely will disagree, but in the long run I believe my viewpoint on this will prevail. We shall see. I want Benedict back, thank you. I see no reason why Francis is making his announcement in January for an event that doesn’t take place until May. Odd.
There seems to be a correlation between people who think Pope Francis should not speak and people who don’t like what he is saying.
Pope Benedict issued his letter announcing the May 15, 2011, World Day of Prayer for Vocations on November 15, 2010. Did he just want to be in the limelight, or could there be some practical reason for it?
The Francis haters on FR are going to find faught with anything he says. If he said the sky was blue, they would say he’s wrong, that the sky is really light blue and he needs to keep his mouth shut about the sky.
Other popes gave the Angelus talks twice a week, preached at major holidays, issued these “housekeeping” proclamations - Prayer for Vocations, Day of Families, all that - and so on. Pope Benedict and Pope John Paul II both gave extended interviews that were published in book form. They both issued major letters as well as commentaries related to Synods and other gatherings.
The only real difference between Pope Francis’s “output” and that of previous Popes is the little talks he gives at his daily Mass.
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