24 February 2008

Day of Prayer for Vocations

The Holy Father's Message for the 45th World Day of Prayer for Vocations (April 13th) has been made available.

Focusing on the theme of Vocations at the service of the Church on mission, Pope Benedict XVI says that responding to the Lord's call "means facing in prudence and simplicity every danger and even persecutions" (2).

Even so, those who respond to the call of the Lord are not without hope, for "the Holy Spirit transforms this trial into an occasion of grace, using it so that the name of the Lord can be preached to other peoples, stretching in this way the horizons of the Christian community" (3).

If men and women are to answer the Lord' call they must be properly formed in the spiritual life. The Holy Father says:

Vocations to the ministerial priesthood and to the consecrated life can only flourish in a spiritual soil that is well cultivated. Christian communities that live the missionary dimension of the mystery of the Church in a profound way will never be inward looking. Mission, as a witness of divine love, becomes particularly effective when it is shared in a community, “so that the world may believe” (cf. Jn 17: 21). The Church prays everyday to the Holy Spirit for the gift of vocations. Gathered around the Virgin Mary, Queen of the Apostles, as in the beginning, the ecclesial community learns from her how to implore the Lord for a flowering of new apostles, alive with the faith and love that are necessary for the mission (9).
Let each of us pray for men and women everywhere, that they might respond with generous hearts to the Lord to whatever he calls them. The Lord has not stopped calling men and women to follow him in the priesthood and consecrated life, but there are few no who are silent enough to hear his call. Pray that the ears of men and women everywhere be opened.

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