In the Angelus prayer of the First Sunday of Advent the Pope said, “Jesus exhorts us to pay attention and to watch, to be ready to welcome him at the moment of his return.” In the message for the 55th World Day of Prayer for Vocations the theme of the call to joy has powerfully re-emerged, with a reference to the upcoming Synod on Young People, the Faith, and Vocational Discernment.”
We all seek joy, but we often do so in the wrong places, attracted by neon lights and accumulating dissatisfaction, nonsense and loneliness.
God offers us unique joy: a “full joy” capable of resisting the ordeals of life; a joy that stems from our full self-accomplishment in God’s magnificent plan for each one of us.
Every vocation is a “call to joy!”
God knows better than us what can make us truly happy, for He knows us since eternity. Pope Francis writes: “We are not victims of chance or swept up in a series of unconnected events; on the contrary, our life and our presence in this world are the fruit of a divine vocation! Even amid these troubled times, the mystery of the Incarnation reminds us that God continually comes to encounter us. He is God-with-us, Who walks along the often dusty paths of our lives. He knows our anxious longing for love and He calls us to joy.”
The three proposed key-words are: to listen, discernment and life.
If we fail to devote time to silence and to prayer “we will never discover the special, personal call that God has in mind for us.” The first volume we need to lower in order to hear the voice of God speaking to our hearts is that of our “ego” that is sometimes deafening. The Pope invites us all “not to lose the chance to dream big and to play our part in the unique and original story that God wants to write with us.” By listening we will learn to discern, we will be able to understand what we truly want, what is the fruit of other people’s projections onto us, what has been instilled in us as something essential and instead is leading us astray…
Saint Augustine wrote: “Timeo Domine transeunte – I fear God Who passes.”
Is it possible to miss the train of our life, those “God-incidences” that can give meaning to our existence and that are manifested in subtle and simple ways in our daily lives.
If we are able to listen and to interpret the reality around and inside us we will be able to live the present moment and we will accomplish our primary vocation: the vocation to love!
“Vocation is today! The Christian mission is now! Each one of us is called – whether to the lay life in marriage, to the priestly life in the ordained ministry, or to a life of special consecration – in order to become a witness of the Lord, here and now.”
And if we should feel inadequate or unworthy, the Pope reminds us that “we should not wait to be perfect in order to respond with our generous ‘yes’, nor be fearful of our limitations and sins, but instead open our hearts to the voice of the Lord. To listen to that voice, to discern our personal mission in the Church and the world, and at last to live it in the today that God gives us.”