What is God calling you to do?
What will you do with your life?
What are your plans?
Have you ever thought of committing your existence totally to Christ?
Do you think that there can be anything greater than to bring Jesus to people and people to Jesus?
We wonder and ask, Why?
Why am I here?
Why am I alive at all?
What must I do?
None of you is alone in posing these questions.
You must never think that you are alone in deciding your future! And second: when deciding your future, you must not decide for yourself alone!
Do not be afraid of the radicalness of His demands, because Jesus, who loved us first, is prepared to give Himself to you, as well as asking of you. If He asks much from you, it is because He knows you can give much.
Sometimes, laymen and women do not seem to appreciate to the full the dignity and the vocation that is theirs as lay people. It is their specific vocation and mission to express the Gospel in their lives and thereby to insert the Gospel as a leaven into the world in which they live and work. Follow Christ! You who are young or old. Follow Christ! You who are sick or aging; you who feel…the need of a friend. Follow Christ!
– Saint Pope John Paul II
When and how does God call?
It is really a great thing to know that one possesses truth. He has chosen you, in a mysterious but real way, to make you saviors with Him and like Him. Yes, Christ calls you, but He calls you in truth. His call is demanding, because he invites you to let yourselves be “captured” by Him completely, so that your whole lives will be seen in a different light. Let yourselves be seized by Jesus and try to live just for Him!
I ask you to have the courage to commit yourselves to the truth. Have the courage to believe the good news about life, which Jesus teaches in the Gospel. Open your minds and hearts to the beauty of all that God has made and to his special, personal love for each one of you. Young people of the world, hear His voice! Hear His voice and follow Him!
God has, in fact, thought of us from eternity and has loved us as unique individuals. He has called every one of us by name, as the Good Shepherd “calls His sheep by name” (Jn 10:3).
A vocation to a total commitment to Christ:
Each one of you too is confronted by the challenge of giving full meaning to your life, the one life you are given to live. You are young and you want to live. But you must live fully and with a purpose. You must live for God, you must live for others. And no one can live this life for you. The future is yours, but the future is above all a call and a challenge to “keep” your life by giving it up, by “losing” it-as the Gospel has reminded us-by sharing it through loving service of others. You are called to be witnesses of the paradox that Christ proposes. “He who loves his life loses it, he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life” (Jn 12:25). And the measure of your success will be the measure of your generosity.
If one wishes to change the world, it is necessary first of all to change man’s heart.
The experience of a vocation is unique and indescribable, and is only perceived as a gentle breeze of the clarifying touch of grace. The vocation is a breathing of the Holy Spirit, who, at the same time as he genuinely shapes our fragile human reality, shines a new light into our hearts. He instills an extraordinary power that merges our existence into the divine enterprise.
The process of a vocation:
The Lord has given you a heart open to great horizons; do not be afraid to commit your life completely to the service of Christ and His Gospel! Listen to Him as He says again today: “The harvest is abundant, but the laborers are few.”
The lack of workers for God’s harvest was already a challenge in Gospel times, even for Jesus Himself. “Beg the Harvest Master to send out laborers to gather His harvest” (Mt 9:38). He also teaches us today that with prayer we can and must influence the number of vocations.
Do not be afraid to go out into the streets and public places like the first apostles, who preached Christ and the good news of salvation in the squares of cities, towns, and villages. This is no time to be ashamed of the Gospel. It is the time to preach it from the rooftops. Do not be afraid to break out of comfortable and routine modes of living in order to take up the challenge of making Christ known in the modern “metropolis.” It is you who must “go out into the byroads” and invite everyone you meet to the banquet, which God has prepared for His people. The Gospel must not be kept hidden because of fear or indifference. It was never meant to be hidden away in private. It has to be put on a stand so that people may see its light and give praise to our heavenly Father.
In clearly detecting this vocation that comes from God, man experiences the sense of his own insufficiency. He even attempts to defend himself against the responsibility of this calling. And so, almost without wanting it, the calling becomes an interior dialogue with God and, at times, even results in becoming a battle with God. Faced with the hesitancy and difficulties human reason sets up, God offers the power of His grace. And by the power of this grace, man is able to fulfill his calling.
Reply with a faith-filled, “Yes!”
Believing and loving God means a consistent life, lived wholly in the light of the Gospel;…this is not easy. It often calls for great courage in going against the trends of fashion and the opinions of our world. But this-I repeat-is the one requirement for a truly successful and happy life.
If some of you hear the call to follow Christ more closely, to dedicate your entire heart to Him, like the apostles John and Paul, be generous, do not be afraid, because you have nothing to fear when the prize that you await is God himself, for whom, sometimes without ever knowing it, all young people are searching.
Take heart young people! Christ is calling you and the world awaits you! Remember that the Kingdom of God needs your generous and complete dedication. Every vocation, every path to which Christ calls us, ultimately leads to fulfillment and happiness, because it leads to God, to sharing in God’s own life.
Know the greatness of this mission, let yourselves be completely caught up in this whirlpool at whose center God himself is at work. Be fully aware of carrying out a mission that cannot be replaced. Do not let tiredness or disappointment dull that freshness of self-giving that the priestly vocation demands.
Be certain that, if you listen to His call and follow Him, you will find great joy and happiness. Be generous, take courage, and remember His promise: “My yoke is easy and My burden light” (Mt 11:30).
A vocation involves difficulties:
You, too, be courageous! The world needs convinced and fearless witnesses. It is not enough to discuss, it is necessary to act!…live in grace, abide in His love, putting into practice the whole moral law, nourishing your soul with the Body of Christ, taking advantage of the Sacrament of Penance periodically and seriously. Always feel ready to love, to assist, to help-in the family, at work, at recreation-those who are near and those who are far away. Also consider, with seriousness and generosity, whether the Lord might not also be calling some of you.
You will hear people tell you that your religious practices are hopelessly out of date, that they hamper your style and your future, that with everything that social and scientific progress has to offer, you will be able to organize your own lives and that God has played out his role. Even many religious persons adopt such attitudes, breathing them in from the surrounding atmosphere without noticing the practical atheism that is at their origin.
A vocation to Marriage:
The whole history of mankind is the history of the need of loving and being loved. The heart-symbol of friendship and love-has also its norms, its ethics. To make room for the heart in the harmonious construction of your personality has nothing to do with mawkishness or even sentimentality.
Young people, raise your eyes more often towards Jesus Christ! Do not be afraid! Jesus came not to condemn love but to free love from its ambiguities and its counterfeits. The human being is a corporeal being. The body is not just one object among other objects. It is, in the first place, someone, in the sense that it is a manifestation of the person, a way of being present to others, of communication, of extremely varied expression. The body is a word a language. What a marvel, and what a risk at the same time! Young men and women, have very great respect for your body and for the bodies of others! Let your body be in the service of your inner self! Let your gestures, your looks, always be the reflection of your soul!
Priest and Religious vocations:
Priestly vocation: The priestly vocation is essentially a call to sanctity, in the form that derives from the Sacrament of Holy orders. Sanctity is intimacy with God; it is the imitation of Christ, poor, chaste and humble; it is unreserved love for souls and self-giving to their true good; it is love for the Church which is holy and wants us to be holy, because such is the mission that Christ has entrusted to it. Each one of you must be holy also in order to help your brothers pursue their vocation to sanctity.
Religious vocation: If someone among you hears Christ’s call to a complete gift of self in the religious life, do not reject such a noble, though demanding, proposal. Have the courage to say yes generously and firmly; this can give an incomparable depth of meaning to your whole life.
I want to reaffirm strongly the eminently apostolic role of cloistered nuns. To leave the world to devote oneself in solitude to deeper and constant prayer is none other than a special way of being an apostle.
To the laity:
There is no vocation more religious than work. A Catholic layman or laywoman is someone who takes work seriously. Only Christianity has given a religious meaning to work and recognizes the spiritual value of technological progress.
Your institution has as its aim the sanctification of one’s life, while remaining in the world at one’s place of work and profession: to live the Gospel in the world, while living immersed in the world, but in order to transform it and to redeem it with one’s personal love for Christ. This is truly a great ideal.
May faith and readiness never be lacking in your hearts, if the Lord should bless you by calling a son or a daughter to missionary service. May you give thanks to God! Indeed, see that this call is prepared through family prayer, through education rich in spirit and enthusiasm, through participation in parochial and diocesan activities, through involvement in associations and volunteer work.
To be instruments of the heavenly Father in the work of forming their own children-here is found the inviolable limit that parents must respect in carrying out their mission. They must never consider themselves “owners” of their children, but rather they must educate them, paying constant attention to the privileged relationship that their children have with their Father in heaven. In the last analysis, as with Jesus, it is His business that they must “be about” more than that of their earthly parents.