Tuesday, 05 May 2020 18:03

Pope Francis: Vocation, a response of Gratitude to God's Love

His Holiness Pope Francis reflected on four things--pain, gratitude, encouragement and praise--as his way of giving thanks to the priests and their ministry in his message for the 57th World Day of Prayer for Vocations celebrated on May 3.

“The first word of vocation, then, is gratitude.” This is how the Pope reminded the faithful that a person can find fulfillment in their lives especially when they are called to respond in gratitude to a vocation since it is rooted from the love of the Lord.

“Every vocation is born of that gaze of love with which the Lord came to meet us, perhaps even at a time when our boat was being battered by the storm. 'Vocation, more than our own choice, is a response to the Lord’s unmerited call' (Letter to Priests, 4 August 2019),” the Pope said.

With regards to encouragement, Pope Francis offers this verse: “Take heart, it is I; have no fear” (Mt 14:27).” expressing how Jesus immediately reassures his disciples when He walks with them towards the sea while they have filled themselves with fear.

When the faithful are called to embrace a state of life such as marriage, ministerial priesthood and consecrated life, there are often “ghosts of disbelief” that creates confusion in their goal towards discovering their vocation.

Pope Francis explained that these first-hand reactions can, in a way, fill them with doubts such as: “Surely, this vocation is not for me!  Can this really be the right path?  Is the Lord really asking me to do this?” 

In his letter to Priests, the Pope also mentioned that every calling given by the Lord is a responsibility. Like Saint Peter, a person’s willingness to serve the Lord is sometimes accompanied by challenges such as failure and even fear.

“The Lord calls us because he wants to enable us, like Peter, to 'walk on water', in other words, to take charge of our lives and place them at the service of the Gospel, in the concrete and everyday ways that he shows us, and specifically in the different forms of lay, priestly and consecrated vocation. Yet, like Saint Peter, our desire and enthusiasm coexist with our failings and fears,” he said.

Pope Francis asked the Church to unceasingly promote the vocations. He pointed out that when it is the moment that the faithful will be able to discover their vocation, they will be unafraid to say their “yes” to God and to overcome their doubts by clinging on to their faith in the Lord.

“Dear friends, on this day in particular, but also in the ordinary pastoral life of our communities, I ask the Church to continue to promote vocations. May she touch the hearts of the faithful and enable each of them to discover with gratitude God’s call in their lives, to find courage to say “yes” to God, to overcome all weariness through faith in Christ, and to make of their lives a song of praise for God, for their brothers and sisters, and for the whole world. May the Virgin Mary accompany us and intercede for us,” he added.

The World Day of Prayer for Vocations affirms the primacy of faith and grace in all that concern vocations to the priesthood and to the consecrated life.  While appreciating all vocations, the Church concentrates its attention this day on vocations to the ordained ministries. (Hazel Boquiren and Jheng Prado/RCAM-AOC)


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