We have arrived in May and the sun is beginning to cast its warm and bright rays over our landscape. Everything looks brighter and fresher under its invigorating rays.
In a message for Vocations Sunday, the first Sunday in May, Pope Francis is inviting religious to reclaim the invigorating energy of the Gospels for the work of Vocation Promotion. In particular he highlights how the Emmaus encounter with the disciples provides a template for Vocation Promotion. In the Emmaus story he illustrates how a “Liturgy of the Streets” precedes the Liturgy of the Word and Breaking of the Bread. Similarly Sr. Lynne Baron FCJ speaks of the important work of “making contact” prior to any talks or literature on vocations. Making contact is embedded in conversation, coming close to people, listening to the stories of their hopes and fears, as Jesus did with the disciples on the road to Emmaus.
Pope Francis recently became the first Pope to give a TED talk www.ted.com/talks/pope_francis. Nearly two million people have watched this talk where his key message is “the revolution of tenderness”. By this he is referring to a way of living the Gospel and religious life that “comes close and becomes real” ….a movement that starts from the heart and reaches the eyes, the ears and the hands. “Tenderness means to use our hands and our heart to comfort the other, to take care of those in need. This is tenderness: being on the same level as the other”.
In Vocation Promotion then the call is to listen to the search for authentic Gospel living which is already taking place – this can be taking place through involvement in volunteering; in choirs; in justice groups; in ecology initiatives, etc. Can we come close to such seekers, hear their story over a cup of tea; attend their events; LIKE their Facebook posts?
There is a “Liturgy of the Streets” which Vocation Promotion requires, and there are infinite ways in which we can participate. Side by side with this “Liturgy of the Street”, Pope Francis also reminds us that “There can be no promotion of vocations, without constant contemplative prayer”. Emboldened by his vision we too pray for the transformation of vision which the disciples on the road to Emmaus experienced.
– Sr. Bernadette Flanagan