Tag Archives: World Day of Vocations

Jesus the Good Shepherd is desires intimate communion with us

Good Shepherd San Lorenzo fuori le mura mosaic.jpg

Good Shepherd Sunday, the 4th Sunday of Easter, was observed in Rome with the ordination of 10 men to the priesthood by Pope Francis. Following the ordination the Pope delivered the weekly Regina Caeli address. Here’s an excerpt:

The voice of Jesus is unique! If we learn to distinguish it, He guides us on the path of life, a path that goes beyond the abyss of death.

But at a certain point Jesus, referring to his sheep, says: “My Father, who has given them to me…” (Jn 10,29). This is very important, it is a profound mystery, that is not easy to understand: if I feel attracted to Jesus, if his voice warms my heart, it is thanks to God the Father, who has put in me the desire of love, of truth, life, beauty … and Jesus is all this to the full! This helps us to understand the mystery of vocation, particularly the call to a special consecration. Sometimes Jesus calls us, invites us to follow him, but maybe we don’t realize that it is Him, just like young Samuel.

Pope Francis

Regina Caeli address, 21 April 2013

Fourth Sunday of Easter

World Day of Prayer for Vocations

Vocations: “…everyone will know that you are my disciples…”

Released earlier today, the Pope gave the Church his thinking and hopes for the living and the promotion of vocations. Very clear is the Pope’s insistence on one’s being familiar with the Scriptures, friendship with the Lord cultivated through personal and liturgical prayer. Also, one’s own self-awareness factors into the discernment of one’s vocation, whether to religious life, priesthood or to the lay state. May the Lord of the Harvest grant an increase.

The 48th World
Day of Prayer for Vocations, to be celebrated on 15 May 2011, the Fourth Sunday
of Easter, invites us to reflect on the theme: “Proposing Vocations in the
Local Church”. Seventy years ago, Venerable Pius XII established the Pontifical
Work of Priestly Vocations. Similar bodies, led by priests and members of the
lay faithful, were subsequently established by Bishops in many dioceses as a
response to the call of the Good Shepherd who, “when he saw the crowds,
had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd”,
and went on to say: “The harvest is plentiful but the labourers are few.
Pray therefore the Lord of the harvest to send out labourers into his
harvest!” (Mt 9:36-38).

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World Day of Vocations 2010

In his 2010 message for World Day of Vocations, celebrated
today on Good Shepherd Sunday, Pope Benedict names three elements for someone
willing to follow a call to priesthood and/or religious life:
friendship with
Jesus, total self-gift to God and a life of communion with all people
. All of this situated in the sacrifice of Christ on the Cross and our relationship to that very cross. Read the
three essential paragraphs from the Pope’s message below.

CFR Sisters First Vows.jpg

A fundamental
element, one which can be seen in every vocation to the priesthood and the
consecrated life, is friendship with Christ. Jesus lived in constant union with
the Father and this is what made the disciples eager to have the same
experience; from him they learned to live in communion and unceasing dialogue
with God. If the priest is a “man of God”, one who belongs to God and helps others
to know and love him, he cannot fail to cultivate a deep intimacy with God,
abiding in his love and making space to hear his Word. Prayer is the first form
of witness which awakens vocations. Like the Apostle Andrew, who tells his
brother that he has come to know the Master, so too anyone who wants to be a
disciple and witness of Christ must have “seen” him personally, come to know
him, and learned to love him and to abide with him.

Another aspect of the
consecration belonging to the priesthood and the religious life is the complete
gift of oneself to God
. The Apostle John writes: “By this we know love, that he
laid down his life for us; and therefore we ought to lay down our lives for the
brethren” (1 Jn 3:16). With these words, he invites the disciples to enter into
the very mind of Jesus who in his entire life did the will of the Father, even
to the ultimate gift of himself on the Cross. Here, the mercy of God is shown
in all its 

Way of the Cross.jpg

fullness; a merciful love that has overcome the darkness of evil,
sin and death. The figure of Jesus who at the Last Supper, rises from the
table, lays aside his garments, takes a towel, girds himself with it and stoops
to wash the feet of the Apostles, expresses the sense of service and gift
manifested in his entire existence, in obedience to the will of the Father (cf.
Jn 13:3-15). In following Jesus, everyone called to a life of special
consecration must do his utmost to testify that he has given himself completely
to God. This is the source of his ability to give himself in turn to those whom
Providence entrusts to him in his pastoral ministry with complete, constant and
faithful devotion, and with the joy of becoming a companion on the journey to
so many brothers and sisters, enabling them too to become open to meeting Christ,
so that his Word may become a light to their footsteps
. The story of every
vocation is almost always intertwined with the testimony of a priest who
joyfully lives the gift of himself to his brothers and sisters for the sake of
the Kingdom of God. This is because the presence and words of a priest have the
ability to raise questions and to lead even to definitive decisions (cf. John
Paul II, Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Pastores Dabo
, 39).


A third aspect which necessarily characterizes the
priest and the consecrated person is a life of communion. Jesus showed that the
mark of those who wish to be his disciples is profound communion in love
: “By
this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one
another” (Jn 13:35). In a particular way the priest must be a man of communion,
open to all, capable of gathering into one the pilgrim flock which the goodness
of the Lord has entrusted to him
, helping to overcome divisions, to heal rifts,
to settle conflicts and misunderstandings, and to forgive offences. In July 2005,
speaking to the clergy of Aosta
, I noted that if young people see
priests who appear distant and sad, they will hardly feel encouraged to follow
their example. They will remain hesitant if they are led to think that this is
the life of a priest. Instead, they need to see the example of a communion of
life which can reveal to them the beauty of being a priest. Only then will a
young man say, “Yes, this could be my future; I can live like this” (Insegnamenti
I, [2005], 354). The Second
Vatican Council
, in speaking of the witness that awakens vocations,
emphasizes the example of charity and of fraternal cooperation which priests
must offer (cf. Decree Optatam
, 2).

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]yahoo.com.
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