“We realize that we are beloved sons and daughters of the one Father, and we come to see ourselves as brothers and sisters of one another,” he elaborated, pointing to the example of St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus, who said: “At last I have found my calling: My call is love. Indeed, I have found my proper place in the Church … In the heart of the Church, my Mother, I will be love.”
In his message, the pope said everyone in the Church is a servant in accordance with his or her charisms, while the common vocation is “to give ourselves in love.”
One way this finds a concrete expression, he said, is in the lives of the men and women who are raising families as a domestic church, or who are working “as a leaven of the Gospel to renew the different sectors of society.”
Another expression is that of the consecrated men and women “who are completely committed to God for the sake of their brothers and sisters as a prophetic sign of the kingdom of God,” he said.
Those in the ordained ministry — priests, bishops, and deacons — are, he added, “placed at the service of preaching, prayer, and fostering the communion of the holy people of God.”
Pope Francis quoted St. Paul’s words in the Letter to the Ephesians: “The apostle Paul opens before us a remarkable horizon: In Christ, God the Father ‘chose us before the foundation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight in love. He destined us for adoption as his children through Jesus Christ, according to the good pleasure of his will.’”
“These words,” he explained, “allow us to glimpse life at its fullest: God has ‘conceived’ us in his image and likeness and desires us to be his sons and daughters. We were created by love, for love, and with love, and we are made for love.”
“In the course of our lives, this call, which is part of the fiber of our being and the secret of our happiness, comes to us by the work of the Holy Spirit in ever new ways. It enlightens our minds, strengthens our wills, fills us with amazement, and sets our hearts afire,” he said.
Pope Francis concluded his message with a prayer written by St. Paul VI for the first World Day of Vocations on April 11, 1964.
“O Jesus, divine Shepherd of souls, you called the apostles and made them fishers of men. Continue to draw to yourself ardent and generous souls from among the young, in order to make them your followers and your ministers. Give them a share in your thirst for the redemption of all… Open before them the horizons of the entire world… By responding to your call, may they prolong your mission here on earth, build up your Mystical Body, which is the Church, and be ‘the salt of the earth’ and ‘the light of the world’” (Mt 5:13).