World Day for Consecrated Life 2012

This Thursday, 2nd of February, we celebrate the feast of the Presentation, designated as World Day for Consecrated Life by Blessed John Paul II in 1997. As we thank God for the wonderful work done by so many religious men and women throughout the world, we continue to pray for courage and strength for those whom He is calling to follow Him through this particular way of life. Here is a proposed outline for a Holy Hour of Prayer for Vocations. I am firm believer that no prayer = no vocations!


HOUR OF PRAYER FOR VOCATIONS

OPENING SONG: Here I am, Lord

Introduction: We are gathered before Jesus present in the Eucharist so as to rest upon his heart and to offer Him our prayer for vocations. Our thoughts are many in this moment but our priests find a special place in our prayer. We pray for them and with them and in the midst of this darkness only courageous faith allows us to pray that Jesus send new and fervour filled young men and women into his harvest.

Silence

Gospel:
A reading from the Holy Gospel according to Mathew ( –32)
He proposed another parable to them. "The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed
that a person took and sowed in a field. It is the smallest of all the seeds, yet when
full-grown it is the largest of plants. It becomes a large bush, and the 'birds of the sky
come and dwell in its branches.'"


If you have faith the size of a mustard seed...


Reflection:
The Kingdom of God, the Kingdom of Christ on earth or the Church of Christ, which at first was quite small and barely noticeable, like the mustard seed, grew. Christ Himself is the mustard seed and the Sower. In Him Alone, as in a seed itself, the whole Church was originally contained, and from Him it spread throughout the whole world. Christ is the Sower as well, who willingly gave Himself over to death and through this death gave life to His Church ­ to all who believe on Him. He Himself said of Himself: Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies it will not produces fruit  (John 12:24).


Indeed, Christ was the little seed in the eyes of men. He was born in Judea, a land remote and insignificant in political terms; for thirty years he lived in obscure Nazareth, in despised Galilee, in the home of a carpenter; by His teaching he attracted unto Himself a few disciples from simple fishermen and publicans; and finally, having given Himself over into the hands of enemies, he died a shameful death on the cross. But He resurrected, ascended to the Father, and His Church spread throughout the whole earth, like a great tree.

So then, from Christ, as from a mustard seed, His Holy Church spread throughout the whole world through a handful of unlearned apostles. The same process takes place in the soul of the one who has responded to the Lord’s calling: the grace of God, which at the beginning acts in a manner barely noticeable for the human eye, in conjunction with our efforts, gradually envelopes his whole soul, perfecting it and making it a "temple of God”. The gift of a vocation is as small as a mustard seed but can expand to the ends of the earth if it is watered and nourished by God’s love.


Silence

Request for forgiveness: (an incense bowl with lighted charcoal and some incense is prepared before the altar)

Lord Jesus, often we have doubted the potential of little things….a mustard seed can grow and give such life. Our prayer too has the power to heal and change even the most stubborn chapters of our history.  In our request for forgiveness each one is free to place some grains of incense into the bowl.
Incense is a sign of our offering and of our desire that God’s holy people be cleansed from their sin. Small as the grains are, just like the mustard seed, they are alive because they contain our prayer ‘like incense let my prayer rise before you o Lord’. We pray for ourselves, for our lack of commitment to our Christian living, for our priests, for our religious, for all laypeople. Human frailty is in the DNA of each one of us but God’s mercy alone can free us.


Silence

Lord God, we ask that you will hear all our prayers: those we have spoken, and
those deep in our hearts. We pray this through Jesus, your Son and our Shepherd,
who calls every baptized Christian to be a shepherd to those whom they encounter in
their daily lives.  We make our prayer through Christ our Lord. AMEN

When we think about the mystery of the Annunciation - what were the Angel's first words to Mary? First, the Angel says - "Blessed are you - full of Grace.: Grace can be defined as the Love of God - and that is at the heart of every calling to priesthood, religious life or  married or committed single life - an experience of the love of God and the loving response of the one called. But then - also important -right from the beginning, Gabriel exhorted "be not afraid". Fear, confusion, or doubt are often initial reactions to the realization in the man or woman that  God invites to serve the Church possibly as a priest or a religious, in married or single life. Mary's question "how can this be?" has been echoed in the heart of countless discerners who wonder "could the Lord really mean me?"
Every vocation is a battle between Love and Fear - including Mary's. Whenever you see a person who is serving the Church as a priest or religious, or as a committed layperson, we see someone who, like our Lady, loved a little more than they feared.

Let us pray the 1st Joyful Mystery. ( The Our Father and the ‘Glory’ may be prayed together, and the ‘Hail Mary’s’ prayed spontaneously and in the various languages where possible)


Concluding prayer: Lord,
hear the prayers of your people gathered here before you.
By this prayer offered in love
bring to maturity
the seeds you have sown
in the field of your Church;
may many of your people choose to serve you
by devoting themselves to the service of their brothers and sisters.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.


SONG: Be not afraid.

(prepared by Sr. M. Louise,pddm)


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