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March 11March 11
“In virtue of their baptism, all the members of the people of God have become missionary disciples. All the baptized, whatever their position in the Church or their level of instruction in the faith, are agents of evangelization.” (Pope Francis in his message for the 2022 World Day of Prayer for Vocations)
We again were encouraged to pray for vocations last weekend as the universal Church marked the World Day of Prayer for Vocations on May 8. That day we also celebrated Good Shepherd Sunday.
As people of faith, many already offer daily petitions for vocations. We thank them for this heartfelt commitment they offer to our Church.
Pope Francis reminded us in his message for this day of prayer that all vocations—to ordained ministry, consecrated life and marriage are integral to the Church and its mission.
Reflecting on the broader meaning of vocation within the context of a synodal Church, the Holy Father said we must be a Church that listens to God and to the world.
“Synodality, journeying together, is a vocation fundamental to the Church. Only against this horizon is it possible to discern and esteem the various vocations, charisms and ministries,” the pope wrote in his 2022 message, whose theme was “Called to build the human family.”
“We know that the Church exists to evangelize, to go forth and to sow the seed of the Gospel in history,” he added.
Evangelizing and sowing seeds are themes the pope has repeated often during the past several years. But in a world replete with chaos and uncertainty, war, famine, human trafficking, ongoing concerns about COVID and countless other threats to humanity, our witness faces constant challenges. But we have weapons of faith—prayer, Scripture and the sacraments—to assist on our daily journey. And we are called to use them as we follow Jesus.
“In a word, we are called to become a single family in the marvelous common home of creation, in the reconciled diversity of its elements,” the pope wrote.
Everything is rooted in welcoming and responding to God’s loving gaze, the Holy Father noted. “Our lives change when we welcome this gaze. Everything becomes a vocational dialogue between ourselves and the Lord, but also between ourselves and others.”
This dialogue, experienced in depth, makes us become who we are, the pope noted.
“In the vocation to the ordained priesthood, to be instruments of Christ’s grace and mercy. In the vocation to the consecrated life, to be the praise of God and the prophecy of a new humanity. In the vocation to marriage, to be mutual gift and givers and teachers of life,” he wrote. “In every ecclesial vocation and ministry that calls us to see others and the world through God’s eyes, to serve goodness and to spread love with our works and words.”
Love—it must be at the heart of every vocation and how we live it. We must never stray from letting that gift shine through us as disciples of Christ.
Christians do not only receive an individual vocation; we are also called together, the pope reminded us.
“We are like the tiles of a mosaic. Each is lovely in itself, but only when they are put together do they form a picture. Each of us shines like a star in the heart of God and in the firmament of the universe,” he wrote. “This is the mystery of the Church: a celebration of differences, a sign and instrument of all that humanity is called to be. For this reason, the Church must become increasingly synodal: capable of walking together, united in harmonious diversity, where everyone can actively participate and where everyone has something to contribute.”
We are again reminded that God has a vocation for all of us. Are we listening?
Let us pray the Holy Spirit fills our lives—priests, consecrated men and women, and lay faithful—to journey and work together, as the pope wrote, “in bearing witness to the truth that one great human family united in love is no utopian vision, but the very purpose for which God created us.”
May the light of Christ shine through each of us, please God, so we can live lives to the fullest—lives rooted in faith as brothers and sisters in Christ.