Fourth Sunday of Easter: Vocations Day
"The Lord always calls but often we do not hear him".
On the Fourth Sunday of Easter, the Church celebrated the 49th World Day of Prayer for Vocations, with the theme “Vocations: The Gift of the Love of God.”
In his message for this year’s day of prayer, Benedict XVI affirmed, “The source of every perfect gift is God who is Love,” an original bond between God and humanity, which precedes creation itself.
He quotes Saint Paul, who states that God “chose us before the foundation of the world to be holy and irreproachable before Him in love.”
The Holy Father recalled that God was moved solely by his unconditional love to create us out of nothing, to lead us to full communion with Him.
The Pontiff added that “every creature, and in particular every human person, is the fruit of God’s thought and an act of his love, a love that is boundless, faithful and everlasting.”
“Dear brothers and sisters,” he exhorted, “we need to open our lives to this love. It is to the perfection of the Father’s love (cf. Mt 5:48) that Jesus Christ calls us every day! [...] It is in this soil of self-offering and openness to the love of God, and as the fruit of that love, that all vocations are born and grow.”
Today’s World Day of Prayer for Vocations is dedicated to this purpose. In fact, the Lord always calls but often we do not hear him. We are distracted by many things, by other more superficial voices; and then we fear hearing the Lord’s voice, because we think that it could take away our freedom.
In reality, each of us is the fruit of love: certainly the love of our parents, but, more profoundly, the love of God. The Bible says: if even your mother does not want you, I want you, for I know you and love you (cf. 49:15). In the moment that I realize this, my life changes: it becomes a response to this love, greater than any other, and thus is my freedom fully realized.
The young men that I consecrated priests today are not different from other young men, but have been deeply touched by the beauty of God’s love, and have not been able to do less than answer with their whole lives. How did they encounter God’s love? They met it in Jesus Christ: in his Gospel, in the Eucharist and in the community of the Church. In the Church we discover that the life of each man is a story of love.
Sacred Scripture shows us this clearly and the witness of the saints confirms it. St. Augustine’s expression, which in the “Confessions” he addresses to God, is exemplary:
“Late have I loved you, O beauty ever ancient, ever new, late have I loved you! You were within me, but I was outside, and it was there that I searched for you.You were within me, and I without… You were with me, and I was not with you… You called me, and your cry broke through my deafness” (X, 27.38).
Dear friends, let us pray for the Church, for every local community, that it may be like a watered garden in which all the seeds of vocation that God has abundantly sowed may germinate and grow.
Let us pray that everywhere this garden may be cultivated, in the joy of everyone hearing himself called, in the variety of gifts; in particular that families be the first place in which God’s love “breathes,” that they be given interior strength even in the midst of the difficulties and trials of life.
Those who experience God’s love in the family receive a priceless gift, which bears fruit in its time. May the Blessed Virgin Mary – model of free receptivity and obedience to the divine call, Mother of every vocation in the Church – obtain all of this for us.