Pope on World Day of Prayer for Vocations: Don’t be deaf to God’s call
Leave everything and discover God’s plan
Promise and risk are two dimensions that Pope Francis pointed out in his message for the 56th world day of prayer for vocations. He was inspired by a chapter from Gospel on the vocation of first disciples at the sea of Galilee and two major events which recently ended, the Synod and World Youth Day in Panama that enabled the Church to be attentive to the voice of the young and their needs, and try to give them concrete answers.
As the apostles who were fishermen, everyone is invited to face exhausting and fruitless days and those ones whenan ample catch was a reward for a difficult night at the see, Pope Francis writes and observes that as with every call, God surprises us at certain times and encounters us, giving us joy that fulfills life even when the nets come up empty. Lord’s call isn’t God’s interfering in our freedom. It isn’t a cage or a burden to be born.
On the contrary, it is a loving initiative in which God encounters us and invites us to take part in the great plan, showing us the horizon of a great sea and abundant catch, Holy Father writes in his message and states that God doesn’t want our life to become a prisoner of the obvious, trapped in everyday habits and indecisive before decisions that can give it meaning. He doesn’t want us to live day-to-day in struggle to suppress inner anxiety while looking for new ways of our journey and thinking that there is nothing worth fighting for.
If we sometimes experience a “miraculous catch”, that’s why he want us to discover that each and everyone of us is called, in different ways, to something great and that life should not get entangled into nets offutility and ennui that numbs the heart, Pope Francis wrote and emphasized that the call is an incentive for us not to stop at the coast with nets in our hands, but to follow Jesus on the journey he set for us for our happiness and for the well-being of those close to us.
However, in order to accept that promise, the Pope continued, we need “courage to take a risk”; to get involved, leaving, like the disciples at lake, everything that ties us to our little barque and doesn’t allow to discover God’s plan. When we are faced with a wide sea of vocations, we can’t keep fixing our nets. Christian life that starts with baptism is developed through liturgy, prayer and fraternal sharing and supposes Love for Church which is a mother, even when we see sin and wrinkles of fragility on its face.
Holy Father added that Christian life is shown in those decisions that, while giving precise direction for our journey, contribute to the growth of God’s kingdom in the society as well. It refers to those who decide to marry in Christ and have a family, as well as to many other vocations related to job, professions; charity work, solidarity, social responsibility and everything that makes us bearers of good, love and justice, all the way to choosing a consecrated life.
Pope Francis wrote that in encountering God, someone might feel thrilled with a vocation to consecrated life or religious order. It is a discovery that exhilarates and frightens at the same time. Some people might feel invited to become “fishers of men” in barque of the Church through a full commitment of themselves and faithful serving to gospel and brothers. That choice includes a risk to leave everything to follow the Lord so as to devote completely to Him and become associates in His work.
For those who feel inner resistance, who experience a lack of hope or face inauspicious currents of secularization, where it seems that there is no more room for God or gospel, Pope suggested an example of Mary, a perfect symbol of vocation between a promise and a risk, and particularly sent a message to the youth: “There is no greater joy than to risk a life for the Lord. Don’t be deaf to a God’s call! If He summons you to take that journey, don’t pull your oars into the barque, but trust Him. Don’t let yourselves be paralyzed by fear before great heights toward which the Lord directs us.
Maria’s “yes” was a “yes” of those who want to participate and take a risk, put everything at stake, with no other guarantee than certainty that they are promise bearers. Holy Father asked for restored commitment of the entire Church, priests, pastoral animators and educators to provide opportunities for listening and understanding in order to help the young in discerning their vocations. Finally, he requested pastoral for the young and vocations that will help in discovering God’s plan.