Posted by Vatican News
on 20 April 2020
Pope Francis sends a message to mark the 57th World Day of Prayer for Vocations, celebrated on 3 May.
Pope Francis begins his message by recalling a letter he wrote last year in which he chose four key words pain, gratitude, encouragement, and praise as a way of "thanking priests and supporting their ministry".
Today, he says, those same words can "be addressed to the whole people of God", alongside a passage from Matthew's Gospel that recounts the "remarkable experience of Jesus and Peter during a stormy night on the Sea of Galilee" (cf. Mt 14:22-33). Pope Francis says, "After the multiplication of the loaves, Jesus told his disciples to get into the boat and precede Him to the other shore, while hHe took leave of the people". He explains: "The image of the disciples crossing the lake can evoke our own life's journey":
The boat of our lives slowly advances, restlessly looking for a safe haven and prepared to face the perils and promises of the sea, yet at the same time trusting that the helmsman will ultimately keep us on the right course. At times, though, the boat can drift off course, misled by mirages, not the lighthouse that leads it home, and be tossed by the tempests of difficulty, doubt and fear.
Something similar happens to those who, called to follow the Teacher of Nazareth, have to undertake a crossing and abandon their own security to become the Lord's disciples, says the Pope. However the Gospel reminds us that "in the midst of this challenging journey we are not alone".
Francis begins with the word 'gratitude', which he says "is the first word of vocation".
"How we find fulfilment in life is more than a decision we make as isolated individuals; above all else, it is a response to a call from on high", he says.
Returning to the metaphor of the boat he explains:
The Lord points out our destination on the opposite shore and he grants us the courage to board the boat. In calling us, he becomes our helmsman; he accompanies and guides us; he prevents us from running aground on the shoals of indecision and even enables us to walk on surging waters".
(Source: Vatican News - Francesa Merlo)