Vocation: Grace and Mission
Dear brothers and sisters, dear young people!
This is now the sixtieth time that we are celebrating the World Day of Prayer for Vocations, established by Saint Paul VI in 1964, during the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council. This providential initiative seeks to assist the members of the People of God, as individuals and as communities, to respond to the call and mission that the Lord entrusts to each of us in today’s world, amid its afflictions and its hopes, its challenges and its achievements.
This year I would ask you, in your reflection and prayer, to take as your guide the theme “Vocation: Grace and Mission”. This Day is a precious opportunity for recalling with wonder that the Lord’s call is grace, complete gift, and at the same time a commitment to bring the Gospel to others. We are called to a faith that bears witness, one that closely connects the life of grace, as experienced in the sacraments and ecclesial communion, to our apostolate in the world. Led by the Spirit, Christians are challenged to respond to existential peripheries and human dramas, ever conscious that the mission is God’s work; it is not carried out by us alone, but always in ecclesial communion, together with our brothers and sisters, and under the guidance of the Church’s pastors. For this has always been God’s dream: that we should live with him in a communion of love.
“Chosen before the creation of the world”
The apostle Paul opens before us a remarkable horizon: in Christ, God the Father “chose us before the foundation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight in love. He destined us for adoption as his children through Jesus Christ, according to the good pleasure of his will” (Eph 1:4-5). These words allow us to glimpse life at its fullest: God has “conceived” us in his image and likeness and desires us to be his sons and daughters. We were created by love, for love and with love, and we are made for love.