All of us, through our baptism and confirmation, have been called to a life of holiness. Our vocation is to be the person that God created us to be.
Thomas Merton, in his book “Seeds of Contemplation’, says that this call to holiness, to be a saint, means to “to be myself. Therefore the problem of sanctity and salvation is in fact the problem of finding out who I am and discovering my true self.” Within that call to holiness we all called to some form of service in the church. This can be as lay men and women, married or single, as men in the ministerial priesthood and a people consecrated in the religious life.
This Sunday, Good Shepherd Sunday, is a day when we are asked to think and pray for vocations to the priesthood and religious life. Pope Francis, in his message for this year’s World Day of Prayer for Vocations, focuses on St Joseph.
“God looks on the heart (cf. 1 Sam 16:7), and in Saint Joseph he recognised the heart of a father, able to give and generate life in the midst of daily routines. Vocations have this same goal; to beget and renew lives every day. The Lord desires to shape the hearts of fathers and mothers; hearts that are open, capable of great initiatives, generous in self-giving, compassionate in comforting anxieties and steadfast in strengthening hopes. The priesthood and the consecrated life greatly need these qualities nowadays; times marked by fragility but also by the sufferings due to the pandemic which has spawned uncertainties and fears about the future and the very meaning of life. Saint Joseph comes to meet us in his gentle way, as one of “the saints next door”. At the same time, his strong witness can guide us on the journey.”
This weekend, let ask the Holy Spirit to stir within us the passion to promote vocations to the diocesan priesthood, consecrated life, societies of apostolic life and permanent diaconate.
May we be inspired daily to respond to God’s call with boundless compassion, abundant generosity, and radical availability. We pray for the grace to remember our own baptismal call and so to invite the next generation to hear and respond to God’s call.
May the Spirit guide parents and families to begin a conversation with young Catholics to consider how they will live lives of holiness and sacred service.
May the spirit nudge inquirers and those discerning to learn more about monastic life, apostolic life, missionaries, cloistered contemplative life, and evangelical life.
May the Church be set on fire with the confident humility so that there is an urgent need for religious sisters, brothers, deacons, and priests to live in solidarity with those who are poor, neglected, and marginalised.
We pray that our comfortable lives and complacent attitudes be disrupted so that we respond courageously and creatively with a daily ‘YES!’
Cover Image: By Stained glass: Alfred Handel, d. 1946, photo:Toby Hudson – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0