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SPIRITUAL DISCERNMENT NECESSARY FOR CHOICE OF VOCATION – Pope Francis

The Holy Father, Pope Francis has described spiritual discernment as a major factor for the choice of vocation embraced by anybody in life. The other two major factors ar: listening to God communicating within us and living with the Lord. These factors were disclosed by the Holy Father in his message for the 2018 World Vocations Day, observed by the Universal Church in all parts of the world recently.

Noting that our presence in the world are the fruit of a divine vocation, Pope Francis declared: “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. In the diversity and the uniqueness of each and every vocation, personal and ecclesial, there is a need to listen, discern and live this word that calls to us from on high and, while enabling us to develop our talents, makes us instruments of salvation in the world and guides us to full happiness.”

He added: “These three aspects – listening, discerning and living – were also present at beginning of Jesus’ own mission, when, after his time of prayer and struggle in the desert, he visited his synagogue of Nazareth. There, he listened to the word, discerned the content of the mission entrusted to him by the Father, and proclaimed that he came to accomplish it “today” (Lk 4:16-21).

The Pope used the analogy of the life our Lord Jesus to buttress his point on the three factors that determine the choice of vocation in the life of every human being. His words: “Jesus too, was called and sent. That is why he needed to recollect himself in silence. He listened to and read the word in the synagogue, and with the light and strength of the Holy Spirit he revealed its full meaning, with reference to his own person and the history of the people of Israel.”

Speaking on listening to the voice of God, Pope Francis noted that God does not impose himself on us but comes silently and discreetly, without infringing on our freedom; there is therefore the possibility of this call been drowned in the many worries and concerns that fill our minds and hearts. Urging the faithful to listen carefully and be attentive to the details of their daily lives, the Holy Father said: “We will never discover the special, personal calling that God has in mind for us if we remain enclosed in ourselves, in our usual way of doing things, in the apathy of those who fritter away their lives in their own little world. We would lose the chance to dream big and to play our part in the unique and original story that God wants to write with us.”

Speaking on discernment, the Catholic Pontiff used when Jesus was in the synagogue of Nazareth and uses a passage in the book of Prophet Isaiah, and his life among the people to show that he was the expected Messiah. He added: “In the same way, each of us can discover his or her own vocation only through spiritual discernment. This is “a process by which a person makes fundamental choices, in dialogue with the Lord and listening to the voice of the Spirit, starting with the choice of one’s state in life” (SYNOD OF BISHOPS, XV ORDINARY GENERAL ASSEMBLY, Youth, Faith and Vocational Discernment, II, 2).

He noted that Christian vocation always has a prophetic dimension and there is the need “to resist the temptations of ideology and negativity, and to discover, in our relationship with the Lord, the places, the means and situations through which he calls us.” The Pope went further: “Every Christian ought to grow in the ability to “read within” his or her life, and to understand where and to what he or she is being called by the Lord, in order to carry on his mission.”

Concluding on the need to live for God and respond to his call, the Pope used several passages in the Bible to buttress his point. He declared: “Today the Lord continues to call others to follow him. 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.”

 

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