25 April 2007

44th World Day of Prayer for Vocations

The Message of the Holy Father for the 44th World Day of Prayer for Vocations is now available.

The Day of Prayer is Sunday, "Good Shepherd Sunday."

As usual, Pope Benedict XVI's message is succinct and full of meaning to be reflected upon and unpacked.

He has chosen to address the theme, "the vocation to the service of the Church as communion."

A few highlights:

In order to foster vocations, it is important that pastoral activity be attentive to the mystery of the Church as communion; because whoever lives in an ecclesial community that is harmonious, co-responsible and conscientious, certainly learns more easily to discern the call of the Lord. The care of vocations, therefore, demands a constant "education" for listening to the voice of God....
The Good Shepherd, therefore, invites us to pray to the heavenly Father, to pray unitedly and insistently, that he may send vocations for the service of the Church as communion....

It is indispensable that, within the Christian people, every ministry and charism be directed to full communion; and it is the duty of the Bishop and priests to promote this communion in harmony with every other Chruch vocation and service.I would suggest that this here lies among the foundation of the shortage of those who are responding generously to the call of the Lord to serve as a deacon, priest or consecrated man or woman. We have not fostered and nurtured unity, but rather discord, envy and spite.

Are you ready for the gem?

Whoever places himself at the service of the Gospel, if he lives the Eucharist, makes progress in love of God and neighbour and thus contributes to building the Church as communion. We can affirm that the “Eucharistic love” motivates and founds the vocational activity of the whole Church, because, as I wrote in the Encyclical Deus caritas est, vocations to the priesthood and to other ministries and services flourish within the people of God wherever there are those in whom Christ can be seen through his Word, in the sacraments and especially in the Eucharist.
Be sure to read it, maybe even twice.

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