Pope Francis prays before the ancient icon of Maria Salus…
VATICAN CITY – Pope Francis on Monday, 4 Dec 2017, released his message for the 2018 World Day of Prayer for Vocations, reflecting on the three aspects of every vocation: listening, discerning, and living.
The 55th Day for Vocations is to be commemorated next year on 22 April.
Listening, discerning, and living: these lie at the heart of Pope Francis’ message for next year’s World Day of Prayer for Vocations.
The Holy Father said 2018 is a special year for vocations, because the Synod of Bishops will reflect on young people, especially “the relationship between young people, faith, and vocation.”
Pope Francis reminded Christians that God never ceases to call men and women to follow Him.
“We are not victims of chance or swept up in a series of unconnected events; on the contrary, our life and our presence in this world are the fruit of a divine vocation,” he said.
He said the mystery of the Incarnation shows that God constantly “comes to encounter us,” even in troubled times.
“In the diversity and the uniqueness of each and every vocation, personal and ecclesial, there is a need to listen, discern and live this word that calls to us from on high and, while enabling us to develop our talents, makes us instruments of salvation in the world and guides us to full happiness,” he said.
A listening heart
Pope Francis made it clear that “God comes silently” and that, without a listening heart, His voice can be “drowned out” by the distractions of daily life.
“Nowadays listening is becoming more and more difficult, immersed as we are in a society full of noise, overstimulated and bombarded by information… This prevents us from pausing and enjoying the taste of contemplation, reflecting serenely on the events of our lives, going about our work with confidence in God’s loving plan, and making a fruitful discernment.”
He said Christians need “to listen carefully to his word and the story of his life, but also to be attentive to the details of our own daily lives”.
Turning to spiritual discernment, Pope Francis said this is “a process by which a person makes fundamental choices, in dialogue with the Lord and listening to the voice of the Spirit, starting with the choice of one’s state in life”.
He said the Christian vocation always has a prophetic dimension since current events in a person’s life and in the world must be examined “in the light of God’s promise.”
“Every Christian ought to grow in the ability to “read within” his or her life, and to understand where and to what he or she is being called by the Lord, in order to carry on his mission,” he said.
Living one’s vocation
Pope Francis then added a note of urgency.
“Vocation is today! The Christian mission is now,” he said.
“Each one of us is called – whether to the lay life in marriage, to the priestly life in the ordained ministry, or to a life of special consecration – in order to become a witness of the Lord, here and now.”
Everyone is called to live their vocation, the Pope said, and there is no reason to fear God’s call, even to a life consecrated to God’s kingdom.
“It is beautiful – and a great grace – to be completely and forever consecrated to God and the service of our brothers and sisters.” – vatican radio