This Sunday, April 17th, is also known as "Good Shepherd Sunday." The purpose of this day is to publicly fulfill the Lord's instruction to, "Pray the Lord of the harvest to send laborers into his harvest" (Mt 9:38; L 10:2). Please pray that young men and women hear and respond generously to the Lord's call to the priesthood, diaconate, religious life, societies of apostolic life or secular institutes. You can find many resources to promote a culture of vocations on the USCCB Vocations webpage (www.usccb.org/vocations). Also, actively encourage those who you think might have a vocation by saying something to them. Often times, vocations are not recognized by the individual, but only by a friend or acquaintance who might have a more objective perspective.
In addition, we must recognize that vocations are not just to the clerical or religious state, but as Pope Francis tells us, “Every state of life leads to holiness, always, but only if we are open to the grace of God’s gift.” This is wonderful news for those who think that one who has a formal religious vocation or extensive theological training is somehow better than the person in the pew. It is also an affirmation of the truth in our Lord's statement that the “last shall be first and the first shall be last.” This means the single state is as consecrated and noble as the state of marriage. It means that marriage is as sanctified as the priesthood.
To be open to the grace of God's gift is to recognize that the things we love to do and are quite good at are pointing us toward greater participation in the Body of Christ. This participation is always evident in the joy and energy one finds in the gifts we are graced with. All of these things can be used to the greater glory of God.
This week, take some time to reflect and pray about one's current state in life, and try to sense if you are being gently prodded in one direction or another.