Rome (Italy) Jesus met men and women who recognized in His words and actions the way of speaking of God and relating to Him, indicating the path to faith, which leads to salvation. The call to follow Christ is at the root of every other call.
The different forms of following Christ express, each in its own way, the mission of witnessing the event of Jesus, in which every man and every woman finds salvation. Each educating community, as an icon of the various vocations in the Church, through the evangelical transparency of relationships and also through its limits, presents itself as a visible image of the call of God and of the response to Him. It is important not to compare the value of the different vocations, but that the value of each one be appreciated, to discover the most suitable for each person.
The Message of Pope Francis for the World Day of Prayer for Vocations , celebrated on 3 May 2020, presents four fundamental key words : gratitude, courage, fatigue, and praise.
God calls each person to a particular vocation, has a plan for each, calls each by name, so the responsibility is to learn with gratitude and wisdom how to listen, how to perceive His call, how to be courageous and faithful in following the vocation, overcoming fatigue through faith in Christ, making life a song of praise to God, following the example of Mary who made her life an eternal song to God. Four key words that Pope Francis illustrates with the Gospel passage in the background, tell of the singular experience that happened to Jesus and Peter during a stormy night on Lake Tiberius (cf. Mt 14: 22-33):
Gratitude: «Taking the right course is not something we do on our own, nor does it depend solely on the road we choose to travel. How we find fulfilment in life is more than a decision we make as isolated individuals; above all else, it is a response to a call from on high. The Lord points out our destination on the opposite shore and he grants us the courage to board the boat. (…) We will succeed in discovering and embracing our vocation once we open our hearts in gratitude and perceive the passage of God in our lives».
Courage: «The Lord knows that a fundamental life choice – like marriage or special consecration to his service – calls for courage. He knows the questions, doubts and difficulties that toss the boat of our heart, and so he reassures us: “Take heart, it is I; have no fear!” We know in faith that he is present and comes to meet us, that he is ever at our side even amid stormy seas».
Fatigue: «Every vocation brings with it a responsibility. 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. If we let ourselves be daunted by the responsibilities that await us – whether in married life or priestly ministry – or by the hardships in store for us, then we will soon turn away from the gaze of Jesus and, like Peter, we will begin to sink. On the other hand, despite our frailty and poverty, faith enables us to walk towards the Risen Lord and to weather every storm. Whenever fatigue or fear make us start to sink, Jesus holds out his hand to us. He gives us the enthusiasm we need to live our vocation with joy and fervour».
Praise: «This is the last of our vocation words, and it is an invitation to cultivate the interior disposition of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Grateful that Lord gazed upon her, faithful amid fear and turmoil, she courageously embraced her vocation and made of her life an eternal song of praise to the Lord».
An in-depth reading of the Message of the Holy Father Francis for the 57th World Day of Prayer for Vocations will reveal the preciousness of one’s own and stimulate us to live it fully. The Church is called to continue promoting vocations, «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». The Virgin Mary accompanies and intercedes for each one on this journey.
The Youth Ministry Sector of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians makes available a video-summary of the Message of the Holy Father: