Rome (Italy). On 8 May 2022, the World Day of Prayer for Vocations is celebrated, an invitation to prayer and an opportunity to deepen the mystery and the gift of the call and response to following Jesus, according to the form of love that the Father has designed for each one.

This year, the Day is part of the synodal process initiated by the Church in which we are called to study the dimensions of listening, participation, and sharing during a particular time of international crises and war conflicts.

In this regard, Pope Francis begins the Message for the Day on the theme Called to Build the Human Family, saying, “Together with all men and women of good will we want to contribute to build the human family, to heal its wounds, and project it towards a better future”.

In the context of a synodal Church that listens to God and the world, it therefore deepens the meaning of ‘vocation’:

All called to be protagonists of the mission

The emphasis is on ‘everyone’: all the baptized are active subjects of evangelization (EG 120), involved, according to their different vocations, charisms, and ministries, in the mission of evangelization. The Pope speaks of synergy and warns of the mentality that separates priests and laity. The whole Church is an evangelizing community.

Called to be guardians of each other and of creation

There are two main emphases: first of all, on the word ‘vocation’, often understood in a restrictive sense, addressed solely to a particular consecration while Pope Francis emphasizes that every human person receives with the gift of life, a fundamental call. “Each of us is a creature willed and loved by God, for whom He had a unique and special thought, and this divine spark, which inhabits the heart of every man and every woman, we are called to develop in the course of our life, helping to grow a humanity animated by love and mutual acceptance.”

Consequently, there is the answer to another call: to be guardians of each other, becoming a family, and to heal the wounds of creation so that its beauty is not destroyed and we can live in harmony with it.

Called to welcome the gaze of God

If ‘all’ are called, God’s gaze on each one is unique. Pope Francis explains ‘the dynamics’ of every vocation in this way, “we are reached by the gaze of God who calls us,” a gaze that transforms. The Holy Father uses the concrete metaphor of the sculptor, with a phrase attributed to the well-known sculptor Michelangelo Buonarroti, “Each block of stone has a statue inside it and it is the sculptor’s task to discover it.”

Much more than that of the artist is the gaze of God, who ‘sees’ in Mary, in Simon, in Saul, in Levi, new and wonderful experiences. “His gaze of love always reaches us, touches us, frees us, and transforms us, making us become new people”.

Called to respond to God’s gaze

The gaze full of love of Jesus rests on each one, but it is up to each to accept Him or not: “Brothers and sisters, let us allow ourselves to be touched by this gaze and let us be carried by Him beyond ourselves!” encourages the Pope.

“Our life changes when we welcome this gaze.” The moment there is an answer, the call becomes a vocational dialogue, which makes one become more and more who one is.

Called together to build a fraternal world

A vocation is not just personal. Like a mosaic tile, one is called upon to compose an image together. It is the mystery of the Church, called to become more and more synodal, “capable of walking together in the harmony of diversity, in which all have their own contribution to make and can actively participate”.

“Every vocation in the Church, and in a broad sense also in society, contributes to a common goal: to make the harmony of the many and different gifts that only the Holy Spirit can achieve resound among men and women,” concludes Pope Francis, who invites us to invoke the Holy Spirit so that each can each “find their place and give the best of themselves in this great plan”.


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