Today marks the first anniversary of the election of Pope Francis. During the course of the past year, he has written and commented on the theme of vocation a number of times. It is worth recounting some of these contributions today - and we hope for more inspiration from the Holy Father in the coming years.
From his Angelus message on April 21st, 2013 - the Fourth Sunday of Easter (Vocations Sunday):
"Behind and before every vocation to the priesthood or to the consecrated life there is always the strong and intense prayer of someone: a grandmother, a grandfather, a mother, a father, a community...This is why Jesus said: 'Pray therefore the Lord of the harvest,' that is God the Father, 'to send labourers into his harvest.' (Matthew 9:38) Vocations are born in prayer and from prayer, and only through prayer can they persevere and bear fruit. I am pleased to stress this today which is the World Day of Prayer for Vocations. Let us invoke the intercession of Mary who is the woman of the 'yes'. Mary said 'yes' throughout her life! She learned to recognise Jesus' voice from the time she carried him in her womb. May Mary, our Mother, help us to know Jesus' voice better and better and to follow it, so as to walk the path of life!"
In his homily to seminarians, novices and those discerning their vocation - July 7th, 2013:
"Dear seminarians, dear novices, dear young people discerning your vocations. One of you, one of your formators said to me the other day: 'evangelisation is done one one's knees.' Listen well: 'evangelisation is done on one's knees.' Without a constant relationship with God, the mission becomes a job. But for what do you work? As a tailor, a cook a priest, is your job being a priest, being a sister? No, it is not a job but rather being something else. The risk of activism, of relying too much on structures, is an ever-present danger. If we look towards Jesus, we see that prior to any important decision or event he recollected himself in intense and prolonged prayer. Let us cultivate the contemplative dimension, even amid the whirlwind of more urgent and heavy duties. And the more the mission calls you to go out to the margins of existence, let your heart be the more closely united to Christ's heart, full of mercy and love. Herein lies the secret of pastoral fruitfulness, of the fruitfulness of a disciple of the Lord!"
In his encyclical letter Lumen Fidei, June 29th, 2013:
"In the family, faith accompanies every age of life, beginning with childhood: children learn to trust in the love of their parents. This is why it is so important that within their families parents encourage shared expressions of faith which can help children gradually to mature in their own faith. Young people in particular, who are going through a period in their lives which is so complex, rich and important for their faith, ought to feel the constant closeness and support of families and the Church in their journey of faith. We have all seen, through World Youth Days, the joy that young people show in their faith and their desire for an ever more solid and generous life of faith. Young people want to live life to the fullest. Encountering Christ, letting themselves be caught up in and guided by his love, enlarges the horizons of existence, gives it a firm hope which will not disappoint. Faith is no refuge for the fainthearted, but something which enhances our lives. It makes us aware of a magnificent calling, the vocation of love. It assures us that this love is trustworthy and worth embracing, for it is based on God's faithfulness which is stronger than our every weakness."