In speaking about the World Day of Prayer for Vocations, Pope Francis remarked: ‘It is beautiful – and a great grace – to be completely consecrated to God and the service of our brothers and sisters.’
The vocation which God has prepared for each of us is, at its heart, a call to joy: a beautiful and a great grace. I think the Pope reminds us of the joy of God’s call because it is something we can easily forget.
A quick read of the newspaper reveals that these are difficult days for the Church in general and the priesthood in particular. These are indeed challenging times for all of us and perhaps it is easy for us to be discouraged at the sight of our recent history and the prospect of what lies ahead of us.
It is conceivable that the challenge of these days would make some reticent in opening their hearts to the possibility of a priestly vocation.
One could imagine parents being slow to encourage a son to discern the priesthood. Perhaps parishioners and even other priests might be slow to suggest a young man consider a vocation because of the thought that it might involve too much sacrifice.
As understandable as these thoughts may be, Pope Francis reminds us that God’s vocation for each one of us is a call to joy.
There will always be a cross to be carried; the Lord Jesus teaches us emphatically that his disciples must take up their cross daily and follow him (cf. Matt 16:24). But the Lord Jesus also assures us that, ‘I have told you these things so that my joy may be in you and your joy complete.’(Jn 15:11)
The voice of Jesus leads us to joy, not necessarily to comfort.
In these difficult days the Lord Jesus will not abandon his flock and he will continue to call men to share in his priesthood. Jesus’ call invariably passes by way of the Cross, but it always leads to the resurrection.
I pray that we will neither be afraid to follow Jesus’ call nor be slow to encourage others to listen to the voice of the Good Shepherd.Jump to next article