A vocation is a call from God to a particular state of life in which the person can reach holiness. Lumen Gentium, one of the documents of the Second Vatican Council, tells us that there is a “universal call to holiness in the Church” (no. 39). (This definition is based on Fr. John’s Hardon’s Modern Catholic Dictionary.)
“Whether the Lord is calling us to the consecrated religious life, priesthood, married or single life, each of us shares a fundamental calling and commitment. The Lord calls each of us–personally–to holiness. Our response–and our ongoing commitment to responding day after day–comprises the core of our Catholic life. By committing ourselves totally, we open ourselves to the love and mercy of God” (Bishop Paul Loverde).
“In the hidden recesses of the human heart, the grace of a vocation takes the form of a dialogue. It is a dialogue between Christ and an individual, in which a personal invitation is given.
“Christ calls the person by name and says: ‘Come, follow me.’ This call, this mysterious inner voice of Christ, is heard most clearly in silence and prayer. Its acceptance is an act of faith” (Pope St. John Paul II).
“The Lord tells the Prophet Jeremiah that his vocation was part of God’s eternal plan even before he was born… These words remind us that each person has a place in God’s plan and that each of us should carefully listen to God’s voice in prayer in order to discover the special calling we have received in Christ” (Pope St. John Paul II).
Each member of the Mystical Body has a responsibility to pray to the “Lord of the harvest” for more vocations–for more workers in the vineyard of the Lord (cf. Matthew 9:35-38). And we need to pray for those already living their vocations–their callings. We need to pray for holy priests, brothers, and sisters to serve God’s people by their prayers and good works, and for more holy single and married lay people. And we need to pray for those discerning their vocation in life, that the Holy Spirit will enlighten them!
Lord Jesus Christ, please strengthen all those serving your people! Mary, Mother of God, pray for those discerning their vocations and for more holy priests and religious!
Below we share a prayer for vocations by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, and another written by Pope St. John Paul II.
Prayer for Vocations
Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI
O Father, raise up among Christians abundant and holy vocations to the priesthood, who keep the faith alive and guard the blessed memory of your Son Jesus through the preaching of his Word and the administration of the Sacraments, with which you continually renew your faithful.
Grant us holy ministers of your altar, who are careful and fervent guardians of the Eucharist, the sacrament of the supreme gift of Christ for the redemption of the world.
Call ministers of your mercy, who, through the sacrament of Reconciliation, spread the joy of your forgiveness.
Grant, O Father, that the Church may welcome with joy the numerous inspirations of the Spirit of your Son and, docile to His teachings, may she care for vocations to the ministerial priesthood and to the consecrated life.
Sustain the Bishops, priests, and deacons, consecrated men and women, and all the baptized in Christ, so that they may faithfully fulfill their mission at the service of the Gospel.
This we pray through Christ our Lord. Amen. Mary, Queen of Apostles, pray for us.
Prayer for Openness to God’s Call
Pope St. John Paul II
Lord Jesus, once You called the first disciples in order to make them fishers of men. Continue to let resound today Your sweet invitation, “Come and follow Me.”
Grant to young men and women the grace of responding promptly to Your voice. Sustain our bishops, priests, and consecrated souls in their apostolic work. Give perseverance to our seminarians and to all those who are fulfilling the ideal of a life of total consecration to Your service.
Enkindle in our communities a missionary zeal. Send, Lord, workers into Your fields and do not let mankind be lost because of a lack of pastors, missionaries, and people dedicated to the cause of the Gospel.
Mary, Mother of the Church, Model of Vocations, help us say “Yes” to the Lord Who calls us to collaborate in the divine design of salvation. Amen.