Francis’ message for the 55th World Day of Prayer for Vocations with the theme: Listening, discerning, and living the call of Lord. " God comes silently and discreetly, without imposing on our freedom ". " 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". Which is "today".
Vatican City (AsiaNews) - Listening to the voice of the Lord who calls, discerning how to make the essential choices and living, that is witnessing the faith in the different areas in which we have decided to live. These are the steps on the journey of vocation indicated by Pope Francis in his message for the 55th World Day of Prayer for Vocations, which will be celebrated on April 22, 2018 and which will have the theme: Listening, discerning, and living the call of Lord.
In the document, published today, Francis writes that “These three aspects – listening, discerning and living – were also present at 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).”
“Listening. 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. 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.”
“We will never discover the special, personal calling that God has in mind for us if we remain enclosed in ourselves, in our usual way of doing things, in the apathy of those who fritter away their lives in their own little world. We would lose the chance to dream big and to play our part in the unique and original story that God wants to write with us.”
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 neighbourhoods 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.”
“Discerning. When Jesus, in the synagogue of Nazareth, reads the passage of the prophet Isaiah, he discerns the content of the mission for which he was sent, and presents it to those who awaited the Messiah: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour (Lk 4:18-19).
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” (SYNOD OF BISHOPS, XV ORDINARY GENERAL ASSEMBLY, Youth, Faith and Vocational Discernment, II, 2).Thus we come to discover that Christian vocation always has a prophetic dimension. The Scriptures tell us that the prophets were sent to the people in situations of great material insecurity and of spiritual and moral crisis, in order to address in God’s name a message of conversion, hope and consolation. Like a whirlwind, the prophet unsettles the false tranquility of consciences that have forgotten the word of the Lord. He discerns events in the light of God’s promise and enables people to glimpse the signs of dawn amid the dark shadows of history.”
“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.”
“Living. Lastly, Jesus announces the newness of the present hour, which will enthuse many and harden the heart of others. The fullness of time has come, and he is the Messiah proclaimed by Isaiah and anointed to liberate prisoners, to restore sight to the blind and to proclaim the merciful love of God to every creature. Indeed, Jesus says that “today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing” (Lk 4:21).The joy of the Gospel, which makes us open to encountering God and our brothers and sisters, does not abide our slowness and our sloth. It will not fill our hearts if we keep standing by the window with the excuse of waiting for the right time, without accepting this very day the risk of making a decision. Vocation is today! The Christian mission is now! 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”.
“Today the Lord continues to call others to follow him. We should not wait to be perfect in order to respond with our generous “yes”, nor be fearful of our limitations and sins, but instead open our hearts to the voice of the Lord. To listen to that voice, to discern our personal mission in the Church and the world, and at last to live it in the today that God gives us.”
Luca is 32 years old, comes from Molise and followed the World Youth Day in Krakow while in his last year in the seminary. The call of the Lord "came while I was in Madrid, at the WYD in 2010, in a tent with my girlfriend. I could not ignore it, and I hope to go to Panama for my last WYD as a priest". The vocational centers in Krakow "outpost" of discernment: "The Church must do more to help young people in their search for answers. It is true that there are frustrated priests, but there are many more young people who do not understand where this sense of restlessness comes from”.
Spiritual and pastoral discernment, gifts of the Spirit, were the focus of a long talk that Francis gave today to the bishops appointed during the year. The bishop is not the self-sufficient 'Lord father,' nor the feared and isolated 'solitary pastor.'" "A bishop's discernment is always a communitarian action".
Francis, who did not deliver the homily, was confessed for about five minutes and then confessed, for about 50 minutes, some of the faithful. This morning he said that the confessor must pray, discern – to avoid generalising – and remember that the confessional is also a place of evangelisation, because it allows an encounter with the true face of God, which is that of mercy.
Francis began his visit at the Case Bianche compound, home to three families. He met priests and consecrated people at the Cathedral where he talked about discernment. “Choose the peripheries, reawaken processes, ignite the spent and weakened hope of a society that has become insensible to the pain of others,” he said.