Catholics observe Vocation Sunday

Published April 21, 2018, 10:00 PM

by Mario Casayuran and Vanne Elaine Terrazola

By Christina I. Hermoso

“Listen, discern, and live.”

Pope Francis called on the faithful to make use of the three aspects in the fulfilment of each and every vocation, whether personal or ecclesial.

“In the diversity and the uniqueness of each and every vocation, personal and ecclesial, there is a need to listen, discern and live this word that calls to us from on high and, while enabling us to develop our talents, makes us instruments of salvation in the world and guides us to full happiness,” Pope Francis said in his message for today’s observance of the 55th World Day of Prayer for Vocations.

“These three aspects – listening, discerning and living – were also present at the beginning of Jesus’ own mission, when, after His time of prayer and struggle in the desert, He visited His synagogue of Nazareth.  There, He listened to the word, discerned the content of the mission entrusted to Him by the Father, and proclaimed that He came to accomplish it today (Lk 4:16-21),” the Pontiff said.

Today’s world has become too noisy and full of chaos that listening has become extremely difficult, the Holy Father said.

“The Lord’s call – let it be said at the outset – is not as clear-cut as any of those things we can hear, see or touch in our daily experience.  God comes silently and discreetly, without imposing on our freedom. Thus, it can happen that His voice is drowned out by the many worries and concerns that fill our minds and hearts. Nowadays, listening is becoming more and more difficult, immersed as we are in a society full of noise, overstimulated and bombarded by information. The outer noise that sometimes prevails in our cities and our neighborhoods is often accompanied by our interior dispersion and confusion.

This prevents us from pausing and enjoying the taste of contemplation, reflecting serenely on the events of our lives, going about our work with confidence in God’s loving plan, and making a fruitful discernment,” said Pope Francis.

“We need, then, to learn how to listen carefully to His word and the story of His life, but also to be attentive to the details of our own daily lives, in order to learn how to view things with the eyes of faith, and to keep ourselves open to the surprises of the Spirit,” he said.

Discernment, Pope Francis said, is the process of making our personal choices through the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

“In the same way, each of us can discover his or her own vocation only through spiritual discernment.  This is a process by which a person makes fundamental choices, in dialogue with the Lord and listening to the voice of the Spirit, starting with the choice of one’s state in life. Thus, we come to discover that Christian vocation always has a prophetic dimension. Today too, we have great need of discernment and of prophecy.  We have to resist the temptations of ideology and negativity, and to discover, in our relationship with the Lord, the places, the means and situations through which He calls us. Every Christian ought to grow in the ability to read within his or her life, and to understand where and to what he or she is being called by the Lord, in order to carry on his mission,” Pope Francis said.

The Pontiff said that God continues to call each and every one of us to follow and to serve Him in whatever capacity we can.

“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.

The Lord continues to call others to live with Him and to follow Him in a relationship of particular closeness.  He continues to call others to serve Him directly.  If He lets us realize that He is calling us to consecrate ourselves totally to His kingdom, then we should have no fear!  It is beautiful – and a great grace – to be completely and forever consecrated to God and the service of our brothers and sisters,” Pope Francis said.

Also known as Good Shepherd Sunday, the observance calls on the faithful “to pray for an increase of vocations to priesthood and consecrated life as a special gift to the entire Church.”