Sunday, January 11, 2009

Pray for Vocations

Today is the Feast of the Baptism of Our Lord. What a wonderful thing to celebrate today. After all, He asked His disciples to go and do likewise. "Go into the whole world and proclaim the gospel to every creature. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved; whoever does not believe will be condemned." (Mark 16:15,16)

The Mass readings today were: Isaiah 42:1-4,6-7;
 Psalm 29:1-4,9-10;
 Acts 10:34-38
" let’s reflect on another dimension of Jesus’ baptism: It marked his entry into the community of those awaiting the kingdom of God. When Jesus was baptized, he joined a community of Jews who believed that repentance had the power to bring them into a new time of God’s favor and blessing. By accepting baptism, Jesus was telling his people that he was one with them, that he wanted to share in their lives, and that he wanted them to share in his life.

But Jesus didn’t just enter this community of believers; he transformed them. Through his miracles, his teachings, and the witness of his love, he raised the people’s expectations. He showed them that the new era they were awaiting was one of closeness to him. It was an era marked by the power of God active in their lives. And it was an era filled with the promise of a new heart and a new mind."

Our priest used the celebration of the Baptism of Our Lord to talk not only about how Jesus showed the way to a new community of believers. Jesus also called certain men to follow in this act and on to the priesthood. Men who were to follow Him and imitate Him in the Holy Priesthood of Melchizedek of which He is the 'First' member. Let us pray that the call to the priesthood will be felt and followed by all those chosen by God. Let them say, as Jeremiah said, "Here I am, Lord, send me."

Prayer for Vocations to the Priesthood
Lord Jesus, High Priest and universal Shepherd, You have taught us to pray, saying: "Pray the Lord of the harvest to send forth laborers into His harvest" [Matt. 9: 38]. Therefore we ask You graciously to hear our supplications and raise up many generous souls who, inspired by Your example and supported by Your grace, may conceive the ardent desire to enter the ranks of Your sacred ministers in order to continue the office of Your one true priesthood.

Although Your priests live in the world as dispensers of the mysteries of God, yet their mission demands that they be not men of this world. Grant, then, that the insidious lies and vicious slanders directed against the priesthood by the malignant enemy and abetted by the world through its spirit of indifference and materialism may not dim the brilliance of the light with which they shine before men, nor lessen the profound and reverent esteem due to them. Grant that the continual promotion of religious instruction, true piety, purity of life and devotion to the highest ideals may prepare the groundwork for good vocations among youth. May the Christian family, as a nursery of pure and pious souls, become the unfailing source of good vocations, ever firmly convinced of the great honor that can redound to our Lord through some of its numerous offspring. Come to the aid of Your Church, that always and in every place she may have at her disposal the means necessary for the reception, promotion, formation and mature development of all the good vocations that may arise. For the full realization of all these things, O Jesus, Who are most zealous for the welfare [and] salvation of all, may Your graces continually descend from Heaven to move many hearts by their irresistible force: first, the silent invitation; then generous cooperation; and finally perseverance in Your holy service.

Are You not moved to compassion, O Lord, seeing the crowds like sheep without a shepherd, without anyone to break for them the bread of Your word, or to lead them to drink at the fountains of Your grace, so that they are continually in danger of becoming a prey to ravening wolves? Does it not grieve You to behold so many unplowed fields where thorns and thistles are allowed to grow in undisputed possession? Are You not saddened that many of Your gardens, once so green and productive, are now on the verge of becoming fallow and barren through neglect?

O Mary, Mother most pure, through whose compassion we have received the holiest of priests; O glorious Patriarch St. Joseph, perfect model of co-operation with the Divine call; O holy priests, who in heaven compose a choice choir about the Lamb of God: obtain for us many good vocations in order that the Lord's flock, through the support and government of vigilant shepherds, may attain to the enjoyment of the most delightful pastures of eternal happiness.

Composed by Pope Pius XII
Nov. 6, 1957
[Revised slightly by yours truly from thees and thous to yous and yours]

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