Pope Francis' Prayer Intention for April, 2017: “That young people may respond generously to their vocations and seriously consider offering themselves to God in the priesthood or consecrated life.”
Most people think of a “vocation” as something that priests, and religious sisters and brothers have. But every baptized person has a vocation, a divine call to love and serve God. At baptism we were changed. We became members of the Body of Christ, the Church. This membership is unlike being part of a human association. It is organic and divine. Grace flows through the parts of the Body of Christ and each part, in one way or another, has the responsibility to be a healthy member of the Body and to build up the Body.
It’s common, when considering the future, to think only in terms of our own personal preferences. We tend to leave God and his desires out of the picture. Pope Francis wants us to pray with him that young people will pray about their futures and be open to serving God in the priesthood and consecrated life.
This is so important to Pope Francis that the next Synod of Bishops, which will meet in 2018, is entitled “Young People, Faith, and Vocation Discernment.” In a letter to young people about the next Synod he wrote: “I wanted you to be the center of attention because you are in my heart. I invite you to hear God’s voice resounding in your heart through the breath of the Holy Spirit.”
Then, referring to Jesus’ response to his first disciples who, when asked where he was staying, said “Come and see” (John 1: 38), the Pope said: “Dear young people, have you noticed this look towards you? Have you heard this voice? I am sure that, despite the noise and confusion seemingly prevalent in the world, this call continues to resonate in the depths of your heart so as to open it to joy in its fullness. This will be possible to the extent that you will learn how to undertake a journey of discernment to discover God’s plan in your life.”
May our prayers touch many young people this month and lead them to grow in their faith and ask the question, “What does God want me to do?”emselves to God in the priesthood or consecrated life.”