VATICAN CITY, APRIL 25, 2010 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI is encouraging parents to pray that their children have open hearts to listen to God so they can find vocational fulfillment and bear good fruit in the world. The Pope stated this today in a public address before praying the midday Regina Caeli with the pilgrims gathered in St. Peter's Square.
He spoke about today's celebration of the 2010 World Day of Prayer for Vocations, which has as its theme "Witness Awakens Vocations."
"The first form of witness that awakens vocations is prayer," the Pontiff affirmed, "as is shown to us by the example of St. Monica, who, supplicating God with humility and persistence, obtained the grace of seeing her son Augustine become Christian."
The Holy Father recalled the words of St. Augustine, who wrote of his mother, "Without a doubt I believe and affirm that through her prayers, God granted me the intention not to propose, not to want, not to think, not to love anything else but the attainment of truth."
Therefore, Benedict XVI continued, "I invite parents to pray that the heart of their children open to listening to the Good Shepherd."
He encouraged them to pray that "each tiny seed of a vocation grow into a mature tree, bearing much good fruit for the Church and for all humanity."
The Pope added, "How can we hear the voice of the Lord and recognize it?"
"In the preaching of the Apostles and their successors," he responded, "resounds the voice of Christ, who calls us to communion with God and to the fullness of life."
"Only the Good Shepherd leads his flock with immense tenderness and defends them from evil, and only in him can the faithful place absolute confidence," the Pontiff affirmed.
He continued, "On this special day of prayer for vocations I especially exhort the ordained ministers, so that, inspired by the Year for Priests, they are moved to a stronger and more incisive witness to the Gospel in today's world."
Referencing his letter written at the beginning of the Year for Priests, the Holy Father said: "May they remember that the priest continues the work of the Redemption on earth.
"May they know how to stop frequently before the tabernacle. May they remain completely faithful to their own vocation and mission through the practice of an austere asceticism.
"May they be available to listen and forgive. May they form the people entrusted to them in a Christian way.
"May they cultivate with care priestly fraternity."
"As we rejoice in the new life that the Risen Lord has won for us," Benedict XVI said, "let us ask him to inspire many young people to center their hearts on the things of Heaven and to offer themselves joyfully in the service of Christ our Good Shepherd in the priesthood and religious life."
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