In the Gospels, our Lord teaches us the way to have an increase in vocations: pray! In many dioceses around the world, “the laborers are few” and it is up to us as true disciples to answer that special request from Christ. Many people have mistaken the lack of vocations as a result of men and women “not being called.” We need to understand, Jesus IS indeed calling men to work in the vineyard; the real question is whether or not they are listening and have the courage to act accordingly. Thus, our vocation “crises” is ultimately a crises of faith. After doing research on this topic of vocation promotion, I came across an article written by Pope Emeritus Benedict where he expounds upon our Lord’s request of praying for more laborers. In his meeting with the priests and deacons in Freising, Germany, on September 14, 2006, he explains the correct way to pray for vocations:
“We stir the heart of God. But our prayer to God does not consist of words alone; the words must lead to action so that from our praying heart a spark of our joy in God and in the Gospel may arise, enkindling in the hearts of others a readiness to say “yes.” As people of prayer, filled with his light, we reach out to others and bring them into our prayer and into the presence of God, who will not fail to do his part.”
Hence, it is not enough to simply “pray for vocations” wishing that one day young men will answer the call to represent Jesus as one of His priests; firstly, we ourselves need to be convinced of our own vocation to holiness. And in answering our own call, our own vocation, God will in a certain sense, take the conviction we have, and transfer it over to young men, planting the seeds of zeal in their hearts. Through our own union with God, and our constant YES in prayer, God will send us laborers! Our Lord will look upon our sacrifice and fervor, and in Jesus’ Name, plant the necessary seeds in young men so they themselves will be convinced that doing God’s Will is the greatest good we can experience on this earth.
Let us continue to pray with confidence and dedication to the Lord of the harvest.
In the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Fr. Joseph Aytona, CPM