A challenge from my pastor many years ago has become a routine part of my prayer life.
One Sunday, our pastor asked us to concentrate on praying for vocations the following week. More specifically, he challenged us to pray the Luminous Mysteries of the Rosary for this intention. He went on to propose a set of petitions, one for each mystery, and explained why he’d chosen each one.
That was some years ago, but I found his suggestions so compelling that I’ve prayed the Luminous Mysteries with this intention ever since.
As we mark the World Day of Prayer for Vocations (read the pope’s message here), this is one way we can increase our prayer for this important intention.
The Baptism of the Lord
At the beginning of his ministry, Jesus is baptized in the Jordan by his cousin. A voice from heaven is heard, saying, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.”
Just as the Father called his Son to ministry, so Jesus calls many to his service as diocesan priests, as monks, as nuns, as friars, as sisters, and as consecrated virgins. But there are so many factors that get in the way of hearing God’s call. And if it is heard, the road of discernment is often long and bumpy.
Pray for all those called to consecrated or religious life that they will hear God’s call and respond to it with joy.
The Wedding at Cana
Jesus and His disciples attend a wedding and Jesus works his first miracle, keeping the bride and groom from embarrassment. The family is a great good, and our family members are among the greatest blessings God gives us.
And yet, family members can be the biggest obstacle to those discerning a religious and priestly vocation. When our pastor announced his intention to become a priest, his parents were horrified—they wanted him to marry, they wanted to play with their grandchildren.
Pray for the loved ones of those called to consecrated or religious life, that they will support the call and not hinder it.
The Proclamation of the Kingdom
Following the Wedding at Cana, Jesus preaches the Good News of the coming of the Kingdom of God in synagogues all over Galilee and Judea. This mystery covers the bulk of Jesus’ public ministry.
We, His followers, are also called to preach the Good News of the Kingdom. Priests are called to preach at Mass; the rest of us are called to be witnesses of God’s grace, by our words and our actions, to our families, friends, co-workers, and chance-met acquaintances.
Pray for all those who preach the Gospel by their words and in their lives, that by the grace of the Holy Spirit they will preach God’s message faithfully.
On Mount Tabor, Jesus gives a special gift to Peter, James, and John. He is transfigured before them, a glimpse of His divinity shining through His humanity. The apostles know something wonderful has happened, though they can’t fully understand. They will continue to meditate and contemplate the mystery they’ve witnessed.
Similarly, those to whom the Gospel is preached need God’s grace to hear it, to take it in, and to make it their own. Probably every priest can tell you stories about the times someone has come to him after Mass and thanked him for saying something in his homily that he can’t remember having said, but which was exactly what the person needed to hear. The Holy Spirit is in the ears that hear as well as in the voice that speaks.
Pray for all those to whom the Gospel is preached, that by the grace of the Holy Spirit they may hear and receive the words that God has for them.
The Institution of the Eucharist
On Holy Thursday, Jesus eats the Last Supper with His disciples; taking bread and wine he blesses it, giving them His body and blood, and telling them to do the same in memory of Him.
And so they have done, they and their successors, from that day to this. Thanks to them, we, the members of the Body of Christ on Earth, continue to receive the Daily Bread of the Eucharist and all of the graces that come with it. Our priests are a great gift to us, and our priests need our prayers.
Pray for the priests in your life, that God would bless them and keep them and make His face to shine upon them. Pray for them by name.