VATICAN CITY (CNS): Embracing a religious vocation is not about feeling worthy or strong enough to be one of God’s privileged ministers and witnesses, Pope Benedict XVI said.
It is about trusting God so much that one can answer God’s divine call without hesitation, he said in his message for the World Day of Prayer for Vocations.
“What is asked of those who are called, for their part, is careful listening and prudent discernment, a generous and willing adherence to the divine plan, and a serious study of the reality that is proper to the priestly and religious vocations, so as to be able to respond responsibly and with conviction,” he said.
The papal message for the day of prayer, which will be observed on May 3 in most countries, was released on March 31 at the Vatican. The 2009 theme is “Faith in the Divine Initiative – The Human Response”.
In his message, Pope Benedict said it was God who chose some to follow his Son, Jesus, more closely and to put themselves fully at the service of the Church.
Answering God’s call “is never patterned after the timid self-interest of the worthless servant who, out of fear, hid the talent entrusted to him in the ground”, the Pope said, citing Matthew’s Gospel parable of the talents.
Rather, it was a prompt and “ready adherence to the Lord’s invitation”, which was rooted in complete trust in God’s plan, he said.
The Pope acknowledged the “worrisome shortage of priests” in some parts of the world as well as the difficulties and obstacles the Church can encounter.
However, God’s children can find strength in their unshakeable faith that God was firmly guiding the Church toward the fullness of the kingdom and it was the Lord “who freely chooses persons of every culture and of every age and invites them to follow him according to the mysterious plans of his merciful love”, he said.