In section: Prayers and Reflections

For the Pope, a vocation “is never a flight away from the world”

In his message for World Day of Prayer for Vocations, made public on Tuesday, April 14, Pope Francis reminded us of the need to “move away from our false security” as the origin of every vocation, which calls us to a commitment to solidarity in bringing liberation to our brothers and sisters, especially the poorest.

On February 2, 2015, Pope Francis celebrated a Mass with members of institutes of consecrated life and societies of apostolic life.

“To hear and answer the Lord’s call is not a private and completely personal matter fraught with momentary emotion”. In his message for World Day of Prayer for Vocations, made public on Tuesday, April 14, Pope Francis describes the action of transcending oneself as the inspiration for a call to the priesthood or religious life.

Comparing this movement to Moses’ exodus from Egypt or to Abraham’s journey, the Pope sees in a vocation “God’s action which leads us beyond our initial situation (...) breaks down our habits and our indifference”. Or still more, leads us to “ leave behind our false security”, “our comfort and the inflexibility of our ego”.

Neither contempt, nor flight from one’s life

“This ‘going forward’ is not to be viewed as a sign of contempt for one’s life, one’s feelings, one’s own humanity”, states the one who heard his own call to the priesthood during a confession in Buenos Aires: “The Christian vocation (...) attracts us and draws us out of ourselves, ‘decentering’ us.”

A vocation, the Pope continued in his reflective message, “never means flight from this life or from the world”. On the contrary, it “inspires us to solidarity in bringing liberation to our brothers and sisters, especially the poorest.”

Presbyteral Ordinations at Saint Peter’s 

On Palm Sunday, which officially marks World Youth Day each year, the message was addressed to young people as the Church, especially in Europe and North America, where there is great difficulty in awakening new vocations, especially to the religious life. 

The World Day of Prayer for Vocations takes place each year on the 4th Sunday of Easter, which falls on April 26 this year. On this “Good Shepherd Sunday”, Pope Francis will preside at a celebration in Saint Peter’s Basilica during which there will be ordinations to the priesthood. 

However, in the Church’s vocabulary, vocation is understood in a much broader sense. The next Synod on the Family highlighted this wording in its title – “The Vocation and Mission of the Family in the Church and Contemporary World” –, drawing attention to this other dimension of the vocation crisis. 

Sébastien Maillard (in Rome) 

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