Pope Francis issued his Message for the World Day of Prayer for Vocations, which this year will be celebrated on 12 May. The Lord’s call comes from being "surprised by an encounter". For the pontiff, "It is not a 'cage' or a burden to be borne.” At the same time though, “Do not yield to fear”. Mary’s “yes” has no guarantee other than “she was the bearer of a promise.”
Vatican City (AsiaNews) – ‘The courage to take a risk for God’s promise’ is the title of Pope Francis’s message for the 2019 World Day of Prayer for Vocations on 12 May, which he made public today.
Drawing on his experience with young people in Panama at World Youth Day last January, Francis said that he wants to reflect "on how the Lord’s call makes us bearers of a promise and, at the same time, asks of us the courage to take a risk, with him and for him."
First of all, referring to the call to the first disciples (Mark 1:16-20), he explains that the vocation stems from the fact that they are "surprised by an encounter", which breaks the "paralysis of routine”, putting us “out on a ‘sea’ of possibilities”.
"The Lord’s call is not an intrusion of God in our freedom; it is not a ‘cage’ or a burden to be borne. On the contrary, it is the loving initiative whereby God encounters us and invites us to be part of a great undertaking.”
This is "a great challenge" that "demands the courage to risk making a decision". Francis lists the different calls. First of all, we have baptism whereby we join the Christian community, and in which, “from an early age, we are taught the art of prayer and fraternal sharing."
Then come other calls, like “the decision to marry in Christ and to form a family, as well as all those other vocations associated with work and professional life, with the commitment to charity and solidarity, with social and political responsibilities, and so forth.
"In encountering the Lord, some may feel the attraction of a call to the consecrated life or to the ordained priesthood. It is a discovery that can excite and at the same time frighten us, since we feel called to become ‘fishers of men’ in the barque of the Church by giving totally of ourselves in commitment to faithful service of the Gospel and our brothers and sisters. Such a decision carries the risk of leaving everything behind to follow the Lord, to devote ourselves completely to him, and to share in his work.”
Ultimately, for Francis we should “not yield to fear, which paralyzes us before the great heights to which the Lord points us.” Instead, we should look at Mary. “[I]n the story of this young woman, vocation was both a promise and a risk. Her mission was not easy, yet she did not allow fear to prevail. It was the ‘yes’ of someone prepared to be committed, someone willing to take a risk, ready to stake everything she had, with no more security than the certainty of knowing that she was the bearer of a promise.”