Prayer for Vocations
WORLD DAY OF PRAYER FOR VOCATIONS
SUNDAY – 12th MAY
Today, the fourth Sunday of Easter, is known as Good Shepherd Sunday because in the Gospel we hear Jesus describe how He is the gate of the sheepfold, the framework for Jesus’ teaching about himself as the Good Shepherd who lays down his life for his sheep. That is why it is chosen as World day of Prayer for Vocations to the Priesthood and the Religious Life.
Today is a wonderful opportunity for each one of us to pray as a community that men and women will recognise and answer the call to the Religious Life, a life dedicated to care and service. What better way to ‘love thy neighbour.’ In 2015 the number of priests in Europe fell by some 1200 - figures to ponder. We all have a responsibility to ensure we leave a faith that is vibrant and secure for the future, for our future generations to whom we leave this world. One way to do this is to pray. There are many prayers for vocations – one is printed below.
Pope Francis writes to us inviting us to pray earnestly and trust in God for those called to share in the Good Shepherd’s ministry of caring for his flock. We should not allow ourselves to become discouraged with thoughts of the inevitable, of what we have to do without priests. We can entrust the whole Church to the providence of God through our prayers for religious vocations. Colin Morrell
Pope on World Day for Vocations:
Lord’s call entails promise and risk
Pope Francis is urging Catholics to pray that the Lord may help us discover His plan of love for our lives and grant us the courage to walk in the path He has chosen for each of us.
He made the call in his message for this year’s World Day of Prayer for Vocations that will be observed on the 4th Sunday of Easter, Good Shepherd Sunday, May 12.
The Vatican on Saturday released the message that has as its theme, “The Courage to take a risk for God’s Promise”.
Promise and risk
The message is a reflection on “how the Lord’s call makes us bearers of a promise and, at the same time, asks of us the courage to take a risk, with him and for him”.
Just as Simon, Andrew, James and John had a mixed fortune in their catch of fish, the Pope said, “much of life is like that”. Sometimes we enjoy a good catch, sometimes we need the courage to keep our boat from being tossed by the waves and at times we are frustrated with empty nets.
It is at this moment that Jesus approaches the fishermen, breaks through the “paralysis of routine” and promises to make them fishers of men.
We too were surprised by the promise of a joy that is capable of bringing fulfillment to our lives, when we met the person to marry or when we first felt the attraction for consecrated life.
Lord’s call, not an intrusion
Rather than an intrusion in our freedom, a “cage” or a burden, the Pope said, the Lord’s call is a loving initiative whereby God encounters us and invites us to be part of a great undertaking. He opens before our eyes the horizon of a greater sea and an abundant catch.
However, embracing the Lord’s promise, the Pope said, demands the courage to risk making a decision, of putting ourselves on the line and facing a great challenge. Leaving behind the security of our little boat that prevents us from making a definitive choice, he said, we are called to be bold and decisive in seeking God’s plan for our lives, trusting in the Lord’s promise.
Call to Christian life
This, the Pope said, is part of the call to Christian life that we all have received in baptism. It is born and develops through the liturgy, God’s grace, the sacraments, God’s word, prayer and fraternal sharing.
The Christian life thus finds expression in our decisions that give a precise direction to our personal journey and also contribute to the growth of God’s kingdom in our world. These vocations make us bearers of a promise of goodness, love and justice, not only for ourselves but also for our societies and cultures, which need courageous Christians and authentic witnesses of the kingdom of God.
Do not be deaf to God's call
Speaking about the call to consecrated life and priesthood, the Pope said it can excite as well as frighten us. Our decision to risk leaving behind everything to follow the Lord can meet much resistance in today’s highly secularized contexts. The Holy Father thus urged young people not to be deaf to the Lord’s call, saying there can be no greater joy than to risk one’s life for the Lord.
The Pope acknowledged it is not always easy to discern our vocation and to steer our life in the right direction. Hence the whole Church - priests, religious, pastoral workers and educators – needs to provide young people with opportunities for listening and discernment. Youth ministry and promotion of vocations along with prayer, meditation on God’s Word, Eucharistic adoration and spiritual accompaniment, the Pope said, help in discovering God’s plan.
In conclusion, Pope Francis offered young people the model of Mary, whose vocation, he said, was both a promise and a risk. Her mission was not easy, yet through her ‘yes’ she did not allow fear to prevail.
MESSAGE OF HIS HOLINESS POPE FRANCIS FOR THE 2019 WORLD DAY OF VOCATIONS
“The Lord’s call is not an intrusion of God in our freedom; it is not a “cage” or a burden to be borne. On the contrary, it is the loving initiative whereby God encounters us and invites us to be part of a great undertaking. He opens before our eyes the horizon of a greater sea and an abundant catch.”