May 3 is the 57th World Day of Prayer for Vocations. In these days when young women can't come to stay with us, to "come and see" as the Lord first invited his apostles and continues to invite women and men throughout the centuries, we Daughters of St Paul have moved our vocation retreats online. Just as in other ways the Lord has surprised us with his presence in the pandemic, so our accompanying of women interested in religious life through online events has been amazingly blessed.
We'd like to share with you the retreat page: www.daughtersofstpaul.com/holyweekretreat2020 The retreat was held over the Easter Triduum starting April 8. The live portions have ended, but you are most welcome to view the conferences, download the prayer guides, and let our sisters guide you through a Triduum-themed discernment retreat. You can even share this link with a young woman you know who may be open to learning more about religious life.
In the message for this year's World Day of Prayer for Vocations, Pope Francis wrote:
The first word of vocation, then, is gratitude. Taking the right course is not something we do on our own, nor does it depend solely on the road we choose to travel. How we find fulfillment in life is more than a decision we make as isolated individuals; above all else, it is a response to a call from on high. The Lord points out our destination on the opposite shore and he grants us the courage to board the boat. In calling us, he becomes our helmsman; he accompanies and guides us; he prevents us from running aground on the shoals of indecision and even enables us to walk on surging waters.
Every vocation is born of that gaze of love with which the Lord came to meet us, perhaps even at a time when our boat was being battered by the storm. “Vocation, more than our own choice, is a response to the Lord’s unmerited call” (Letter to Priests, 4 August 2019). We will succeed in discovering and embracing our vocation once we open our hearts in gratitude and perceive the passage of God in our lives.
On this special day let us pray together for all those whom the Lord is calling to religious life and for all of us as we respond to the Lord's gracious plan for our life. Let us ask Jesus to use us in any way he desires so that we might be an instrument in young people discovering how beautiful it is, what a great adventure life becomes when we answer the Lord's call in our life.
Prayer for the 57th World Day of Prayer for Vocations
Give yourselves over to the best of life! (ChV 143)
to encounter you
is to allow your gaze to reach
the place where we have hidden ourselves.
Only your eyes see and love all of us:
give us the light of your Spirit
so that looking to you we may know our true face as beloved children.
to choose you
is to allow you to conquer the bitterness of our solitude
and the fear of our fragility;
only with you can our reality be filled with life.
Teach us the art of loving:
an adventure that is possible because you are in us and with us.
to follow you
is to make dreams blossom and to make decisions:
it is to give ourselves over to the best of life.
Attract us to the encounter with you
and call us to follow you to receive from you the gift of our vocation:
to grow, to mature
and to become gift for others. Amen.