Thursday, March 30, 2006

world day of prayer for vocations

Following is Pope Benedict XVI's message for the upcoming World Day of Prayer for Vocations. I like how he points out that Mary is the model of religious life. Emphasis below is mine:


VATICAN CITY, MAR 30, 2006 (VIS) - Made public today was the Holy Father's Message for the 43rd World Day of Prayer for Vocations, which is due to be celebrated on May 7, fourth Sunday of Easter, on the theme: "Vocation in the mystery of the Church."

"The weight of two millennia of history makes it difficult to perceive the novelty of the fascinating mystery of divine adoption which lies at the center of St. Paul's teaching," writes the Holy Father in his Message, which is dated March 5. "We are called to live as brothers and sisters of Christ, to consider ourselves as sons and daughters of the same Father. This a gift that overturns all exclusively human ideas and projects."

"What, then, must we say," Benedict XVI asks, "of the temptation, so strongly felt in our own time, to think ourselves so self-sufficient as to shut ourselves off from the mysterious plan God has for us? The love of the Father, revealed in the person of Christ, calls out to us."

Down the centuries, the Pope writes, many men and women, "transformed by divine love, have consecrated their lives to the cause of the Kingdom," and "through Christ have known the mystery of the Father's love." These people, the Pope goes on, "represent the multiplicity of vocations that have always been present in the Church."

Referring then to Vatican Council II's universal call to sanctity, the Holy Father affirms that, in each generation, Christ "calls individuals to take care of His people; in particular He calls men to the priestly ministry to exercise a paternal function. ... The priest's mission in the Church is irreplaceable.
Therefore, even though some areas suffer a shortage of clergy, we must not lose the conviction that Christ continues to call men" to the priesthood.

"Another special vocation occupying a place of honor in the Church is the call to consecrated life. ... Although they undertake various forms of service in the field of human formation and care for the poor, in education and in assistance to the sick, [consecrated people] do not consider these activities as the principle aim of their lives because, as the Code of Canon Law says: 'Contemplation of divine things and assiduous union with God in prayer is to be the first and foremost duty of all religious'."

Benedict XVI concludes his Message with a call to pray "for vocations to the priesthood and the consecrated life. ... The Church's sanctity depends essentially on her union with Christ and her openness to the mystery of grace at work in the hearts of believers. For this reason, I would like to invite all the faithful to cultivate an intimate relationship with Christ, Master and Pastor of His people, imitating Mary who guarded the divine mysteries in her heart and contemplated them assiduously."

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