Vocations promotion, which is the responsibility of every Catholic, the pope said, must follow the same steps Jesus used when interacting with people.
“Jesus stopped and met the gaze of the other, without rushing,” he said. “This is what makes his call attractive and fascinating.”
Jesus did not stay in “the secure fortress of the rectory,” the pope said, but set out into the cities and villages, pausing to listen to the people he came across, “taking in the desire of those who sought him out, the delusion of a failed night of fishing, the burning thirst of a woman who went to the well to get water or the strong need to change one’s life.”
“In the same way, instead of reducing faith to a book of recipes or a collection of norms to observe, we can help young people ask the right questions, set out on their journey and discover the joy of the Gospel,” he said.
Led by the Spirit for Mission
There can be no promotion of vocations or Christian mission apart from constant contemplative prayer. The Christian life needs to be nourished by attentive listening to God’s word and, above all, by the cultivation of a personal relationship with the Lord in Eucharistic adoration, the privileged “place” for our encounter with God.
I wish heartily to encourage this kind of profound friendship with the Lord, above all for the sake of imploring from on high new vocations to the priesthood and the consecrated life. The People of God need to be guided by pastors whose lives are spent in service to the Gospel. I ask parish communities, associations and the many prayer groups present in the Church, not to yield to discouragement but to continue praying that the Lord will send workers to his harvest. May he give us priests enamoured of the Gospel, close to all their brothers and sisters, living signs of God’s merciful love.
Dear brothers and sisters, today too, we can regain fervour in preaching the Gospel and we can encourage young people in particular to take up the path of Christian discipleship. Despite a widespread sense that the faith is listless or reduced to mere “duties to discharge”, our young people desire to discover the perennial attraction of Jesus, to be challenged by his words and actions, and to cherish the ideal that he holds out of a life that is fully human, happy to spend itself in love.
Mary Most Holy, the Mother of our Saviour, had the courage to embrace this ideal, placing her youth and her enthusiasm in God’s hands. Through her intercession, may we be granted that same openness of heart, that same readiness to respond, “Here I am”, to the Lord’s call, and that same joy in setting out (cf. Lk 1:39), like her, to proclaim him to the whole world.
The Church, Mother of Vocations
"Dear Brothers and Sisters,
On this day dedicated to prayer for vocations, I urge all the faithful to assume their responsibility for the care and discernment of vocations. When the Apostles sought someone to take the place of Judas Iscariot, Saint Peter brought together one hundred and twenty of the brethren (cf. Acts 1:15); and in order to chose seven deacons, a group of disciples was gathered (cf. 6:2). Saint Paul gave Titus specific criteria for the selection of presbyters (cf. Titus 1:5-9). Still today, the Christian community is always present in the discernment of vocations, in their formation and in their perseverance (cf. Apost. Ex. Evangelii Gaudium, 107)."
From the Vatican, 29 November 2015, First Sunday of Advent
“Respond to the crisis of vocations with intensified prayer, rather than despair or a lax admissions process”
Grotto of Lourdes in the Vatican Gardens | Saturday, 28 June 2014
"I thank you for this visit, this visit to Our Lady, who is so important in our lives. And she accompanies us also in making this definitive choice, the choice of a vocation, because she accompanied her Son on his vocational path, which was so difficult, so painful. She accompanies us always."
"A boy — a bishop once told me — a young person, a young professional said to him: “I would like to become a priest, but only for 10 years”. The temporary is like this. We are afraid of what is permanent. And to choose a vocation, any vocation, also those vocational “states”: marriage, consecrated life, the priesthood, we must choose with a permanent outlook for life. And this is contrary to the culture of the temporary. It is a part of the culture which we are living today, and we must live it and overcome it."
Consistory Hall | Saturday, 10 May 2014
"Secular institutes are themselves an act of courage that the Church made at that moment; such as to give structure, to institutionalize XX secular institutes. And from that time up to now, the good you do for the Church is very great, it is done with courage; for one needs great courage to live in the world. Many of you are alone, many come and go in your apartment; some of you live in small communities. Every day you live the life of a person in the world, and, at the same time, retain contemplation. This contemplative dimension with the Lord and in relation to the world, to contemplate reality, to contemplate the beauty of the word as well as the great sins of society, its deviations, all these things, and always in spiritual tension.... This is why your vocation is so fascinating, because it is a vocation which is spot on, where the salvation not only of people but of the institutions are at stake. And a great many lay institutions are necessary in the world. That is why I think that Provida Mater Ecclesia was a truly revolutionary step for the Church!
"I hope that you will always retain this attitude of going beyond, not only beyond, but beyond and in between. There, where everything is at stake: politics, the economy, education, family... precisely there! Perhaps you are tempted maybe to think: “But what can I do?”. When you are tempted like this, remember that the Lord spoke to us about the grain of wheat! Your life is like a grain of wheat... precisely; it is like leaven... precisely. Doing everything possible so that the Kingdom may come, grow and be great, and also so that it may shelter many people, like the mustard tree. Think about this. Small life, small gesture; normal life with a leaven, a grain that produces growth. And this may reward you. The outcome of the Kingdom of God cannot be foreseen. Only the Lord allows us to divine something... We shall see the results in heaven."
Sisters And Priests Free From Idolatry
Monday, 3 March 2014
“When we ask the Lord to send vocations to proclaim the Gospel, he sends them”. And yet some say: “Father, things in the world are going so badly: there are no vocations to be a sister, there are no priestly vocations, we are going to end in ruin!”.
“There are many vocations”, the Pope said. Yet, he asked, if they are so numerous “why do we need to ask the Lord to send them?”. He replied: “We need to pray that the hearts of these young people might be emptied: emptied of other interests, emptied of other loves, that their hearts might become free”. This, he said, is the true “prayer for vocations: Lord, send us sisters, send us priests; defend them from the idolatry of vanity, from the idolatry of pride, from the idolatry of power, from the idolatry of money”. And, he explained, “our prayer helps to prepare their hearts to closely follow the Lord”.
Pope Francis spoke about vocations to a large crowd during the 51st World Day of Prayer for Vocations. He said,
"I invite you to listen to and follow Jesus, and to allow yourselves to be transformed interiorly by his words, which "are spirit and life" (Jn 6:62). Mary, the Mother of Jesus and ours, also says to us: "Do whatever he tells you" (Jn 2:5). It will help you to participate in a communal journey that is able to release the best energies in you and around you. A vocation is a fruit that ripens in a well cultivated field of mutual love that becomes mutual service, in the context of an authentic ecclesial life. No vocation is born of itself or lives for itself. A vocation flows from the heart of God and blossoms in the good soil of faithful people, in the experience of fraternal love. Did not Jesus say: "By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another" (Jn 13:35)?"
Let us dispose our hearts therefore to being "good soil", by listening, receiving and living out the word, and thus bearing fruit. The more we unite ourselves to Jesus through prayer, Sacred Scripture, the Eucharist, the Sacraments celebrated and lived in the Church and in fraternity, the more there will grow in us the joy of cooperating with God in the service of the Kingdom of mercy and truth, of justice and peace. And the harvest will be plentiful, proportionate to the grace we have meekly welcomed into our lives
Source: new.va, From the Vatican, 15 January 2014
In a meeting with pastors and priests in Rome, Pope Francis said,
"We are always priests with all our soul and with all our heart. Being an ambassador of Christ ... is a mission that penetrates our entire being."
"This is what marriage is all about: man and woman walking together, wherein the husband helps his wife to become ever more a woman, and wherein the woman has the task of helping her husband to become ever more a man. Here we see the reciprocity of differences… The love of Christ, which has blessed and sanctified the union of husband and wife, is able to sustain their love and to renew it when, humanly speaking, it becomes lost, wounded or worn out"
"What is Marriage? It is a true and authentic vocation, as are the priesthood and the religious life. Two Christians who marry have recognized the call of the Lord in their own love story: the vocation to form one flesh and one life from two, male and female."
Meeting with the Young People of Umbria (October 4, 2013)
"The first setting in which faith enlightens the human city is the family. I think first and foremost of the stable union of man and woman in marriage. This union is born of their love, as a sign and presence of God’s own love, and of the acknowledgment and acceptance of the goodness of sexual differentiation, whereby spouses can become one flesh (cf. Gen 2:24) and are enabled to give birth to a new life, a manifestation of the Creator’s goodness, wisdom and loving plan."
Lumen Fidei, no 52 (June 29, 2013)
"Dear Brothers and Sisters, in the light of this Gospel scene, let us look to consecrated life as an encounter with Christ: it is He who comes to us, led by Mary and Joseph, and we go towards Him guided by the Holy Spirit. But the centre is Him. He moves everything, He draws us to the Temple, to the Church, where we can meet Him, recognize Him, welcome Him, embrace Him.
Jesus comes to us in the Church through the foundational charism of an Institute: it is nice to think of our vocation in this way! Our encounter with Christ took its shape in the Church through the charism of one of its witnesses. This always amazes us and makes us give thanks.
And in the consecrated life we live the encounter between the young and the old, between observation and prophecy. Let’s not see these as two opposing realities! Let us rather allow the Holy Spirit to animate both of them, and a sign of this is joy: the joy of observing, of walking within a rule of life; the joy of being led by the Spirit, never unyielding, never closed, always open to voice of God that speaks, that opens, that leads us and invites us to go towards the horizon.
It's good for the elderly to communicate their wisdom to the young; and is good for the young people to gather this wealth of experience and wisdom, and to carry it forward, not so as to store it in a museum, but to bring it forward addressing the challenges of life, to carry it forward for the sake of respective religious orders and of the whole Church."
"Every consecrated person is a gift for the People of God on a journey. There is much need of their presence, that strengthens and renews the commitment to spread the gospel, to Christian education, to charity for the most needy, to contemplative prayer; the commitment to a human and spiritual formation of young people, of families; the commitment to justice and peace in the human family," Pope Francis declared.
Taking into account that February 2 is the World Day for Consecrated Life, the Pope continued, "consecrated persons are signs of God in diverse environments of life, they are leaven for the growth of a more just and fraternal society, prophecy of sharing with the little and the poor. As such understanding and experience, the consecrated life appears to us just as it really is: a gift of God!
"What would happen if there were no sisters?" the pontiff said, departing from his prepared notes. "Sisters in the hospitals, sisters in the missions, sisters in the schools. one can't imagine it! They are the leaven that carry the people of God forward!"
"The Church and the world have need of this testimony of the love and mercy of God," he stressed.
While all Christians are consecrated to God in baptism and all are called to make "a generous gift of our lives, in the family, at work, in service to the Church, (and) in works of mercy," those in religious life experience this consecration "in a particular way.
"Totally consecrated to God, they are totally given over to their brethren, to carry the light of Christ there where the darkness is thickest and to spread his hope to hearts who are discouraged," the pontiff said.
Pope Francis said that the year 2015 will be dedicated in a special way to religious life.
"It is necessary to value with gratitude the experience of consecrated life and deepen the knowledge of different charisms and spiritualities. We must pray, so that many young people respond 'yes' to the Lord who calls them to consecrate themselves wholly to Him for disinterested service to their brethren."
Pope Francis also made special mention of the "Day for Life" celebrated in Italy, thanking everyone who works to defend life, "to accept, respect and promote it, especially when it is fragile and in need of attention and care, from the womb of a mother until its end on this earth."
Source: Catholic Online
"For if the young are called to open new doors, the elderly hold the keys. An institute remains youthful by going back to its roots, by listening to its older members. There is no future without this encounter between the old and the young. There is no growth without roots and no flowering without new buds. There is never prophecy without memory, or memory without prophecy."
Source: Vatican News
"The joy of the Gospel, which makes us open to encountering God and our brothers and sisters, does not abide our slowness and our sloth. It will not fill our h...earts if we keep standing by the window with the excuse of waiting for the right time, without accepting this very day the risk of making a decision. Vocation is today! The Christian mission is now! Each one of us is called – whether to the lay life in marriage, to the priestly life in the ordained ministry, or to a life of special consecration – in order to become a witness of the Lord, here and now...
...We should not wait to be perfect in order to respond with our generous “yes”, nor be fearful of our limitations and sins, but instead open our hearts to the voice of the Lord. To listen to that voice, to discern our personal mission in the Church and the world, and at last to live it in the today that God gives us."
Source: Vatican News