Pope’s message for the 43rd World Day for vocations

Source: FSSPX News


Benedict XVI recalled the irreplaceable character of the priest in the Church and told potential candidates for the priesthood that it was not necessary to be "already perfect" to answer God’s call.  His remarks are included in his message for the 43rd World Day for vocations to take place on May 7 2006. The text which has for its themes "vocation in the mystery of the Church", and is dated March 5, was made public in the Vatican on March 30.

"To answer God’s call and set out upon the road, it is not necessary to be already perfect" wrote Benedict XVI. He explained that "fragilities and human limitations do not constitute an obstacle, if they make us ever more aware of our need for the redemptive grace of Christ". The pope recalled that, in the Gospel, "awareness of his own sin enabled the prodigal son to return home and thus to experience the joy of reconciliation with his father."

"The Church is holy,even if Her members need to be purified, so that holiness, which is a gift from God, may shine through them to its full", said the pope, who pointed out that "the mission of the priest in the Church is irreplaceable". Thus, for him, "even if we are experiencing a dearth of priests in some areas, the certitude that Christ continues to raise up men who, like the Apostles, devote themselves wholly to the celebration of the sacred mysteries, the preaching of the Gospel, and the pastoral ministry, while giving up any other occupation, must never disappear".

Then Benedict XVI went on to present the "call to consecrated life" as "another special vocation which holds a place of honor in the Church." Religious, "while serving in different capacities for human formation, care of the poor, teaching, or care of the sick", must not consider these activities as "the main objective of their life." Indeed, he explained, their first duty lies in "contemplation of the divine realities and constant union with God in prayer".

Furthermore, Benedict XVI recalled that "before the creation of the world, before we came into the world, our heavenly Father had chosen us personally, in order to call us to a filial relationship with Him, through the intermediary of Jesus, the Incarnate Word, and under the guidance of the Holy Ghost". "The weight of two millenniums of history makes it difficult for us to feel the novelty of this fascinating mystery of divine adoption", yet, "the prospect is truly fascinating: we are called to live as brothers and sisters of Jesus, to feel that we are sons and daughters of the same Father", something which the pope presented as "a gift turns upside down all our exclusively human ideas and projects."