World Day of Prayer for Vocations
In 1963, Pope Paul VI designated the fourth Sunday of Easter (Good Shepherd Sunday) as World Day of Prayer for Vocations. As we celebrate this feast we pray for fidelity to our vocation, and also pray for new vocations. Vocation is a voice crying in a person’s heart telling him or her what to do in this life. Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI summarised the teaching of Pope St. John Paul II in two words: CHOOSE LIFE. Kinyanjui Nganga in his book ‘Ultimate Success’ says: “The greatest freedom that God gave us is that of choice… but we will be held accountable of every choice we make. It has been found out that 85% of who we are has to do with the choices we made in the past. 15% of who we are has nothing to do with our choices; like we never chose our parents, place of birth, colour pigmentation, country, economic background, gender, etc.”
There are four main states of life, and if we are not in one of these four we need to choose one. First; Marriage, second; Priesthood, third; Consecrated Life, fourth; Single life. Our choice has to be in cooperation with God because it is God who calls us to accomplish his plan. On this 52nd World Day of Prayer for Vocations, Pope Francis reflects on ‘exodus’ story which is the heart of vocation, or better yet, of our response to the vocation God gives us. Our spiritual and material support is needed for vocation ministry in our Diocese and elsewhere.
Pope Francis declared 2015 be dedicated to the promotion of the Consecrated Life, asking the religious sisters, brothers and priests to “wake up the world” with their testimony of faith, holiness and hope. He reminds us to look the past with gratitude, live the present with passion and look to the future with hope. Let us encourage young people to join the Religious Life.
Marriage and family is the foundation of all other vocations. Following this, the Church has called a SYNOD on the FAMILY from October 2014 to October 2015. There are two phases of this synod. The first phase Oct.2014 concentrated on “Pastoral Challenges of the Family in the context of evangelization.” The second phase of the synod Oct.2015 will treat the working guidelines for pastoral care of the human person on the theme of “The Vocation and Mission of the Family in the Church and in the Contemporary World.” The theme for the eighth World Meeting of Families which will take place in Philadelphia September 22-27, 2015 is “LOVE IS OUR MISSION.” All these have the intention to strengthen love in marriage and family life.
In conclusion, let’s meditate on the words of Peter Kreeft who pointed out: “Matrimony is (1)the only sacrament which is also part of the natural law, (2) the first sacrament God instituted, in Eden, and (3) the most essential of all human relationships and social institutions. Its breakdown in our day is the surest possible sign of the future doom of our culture. Its restoration is the primary need and vocation in our secular society, and must begin in the Church. There is indeed a crisis of vocations today: there is a desperate need for more holy fathers and mothers.” Let us continue to pray for vocations in the Church that God will give us more holy priests and holy religious brothers and sister.