by BishopFarrell, Diocese of Dallas, Texas
Saint Augustine counseled that we should ““Pray as though everything depended on God. Work as though everything depended on you.”
In today’s busy world when Thoreau’s description of lives of “quiet desperation” have become the norm, the first part of St. Augustine’s advice, prayer, is largely forgotten. Far too many believe that we don’t need God’s help; that technology, science and human ingenuity is all we need to provide solutions. Alas, such is not the case.
Pope Benedict XVI makes this clear in his message for the World Day of Prayer for Vocations in which he wrote: “The task of fostering vocations will be to provide helpful guidance and direction along the way. Central to this should be love of God’s word nourished by a growing familiarity with Sacred Scripture, and attentive and unceasing prayer, both personal and in community; this will make it possible to hear God’s call amid all the voices of daily life.”
A vocation to the priesthood, religious life or the diaconate is radically different from choosing to become a lawyer, or a teacher, or a scientist or any other of the many honorable professions or careers. It is a call from God, a movement of the Holy Spirit. The very word “vocation” comes from the Latin “vocare” meaning to call.
As the Holy Father points out, it is prayer that makes it possible “to hear God’s call amid all the voices of daily life.” Prayer for vocations should be a regular daily practice for parishes, schools, parents and particularly, young people. Prayer will help discern and respond to God’s gentle but persistent call.
For us as Catholic Christians the Eucharist is the highest form of prayer and the Holy Father emphasizes this in his message: “But above all, the Eucharist should be the heart of every vocational journey: it is here that the love of God touches us in Christ’s sacrifice. … Scripture, prayer and the Eucharist are the precious treasure enabling us to grasp the beauty of a life spent fully in service of the Kingdom.”
Priests and seminarians will be sharing their vocation stories at many parishes and Prayer for Vocations cards will be available at every parish. Please take one home and use it.
There are many who are also heeding the second part of St .Augustine’s counsel. Working tirelessly for vocations are the Vocation Office, Serra Clubs, Vocation Guild, Knights of Columbus and others groups and individuals in the Diocese of Dallas. We cannot all join in their fine efforts, but, we can all pray.
So, let us pray, not just on this World Day of Prayer for Vocations, but every day, consistently and persistently…”as though everything depended on God.”