May 4, 2012


Make time to pray, listen each day

We hear the appeal at nearly every Mass, but how many of us take it to heart?

During the general intercessions, we often pray for more vocations to the priesthood and consecrated life.

How many of us make a conscientious effort to do the same outside of church?

If you do, is it part of your daily prayer regimen or do you need that “gentle reminder” from others?

In our fast-paced world where faith ends up on the backburner—except on Sunday—for many people, distractions can become a problem, including where prayer is concerned.

Whether it’s praying for vocations, for your family and friends or praying for the issues that impact our world, those distractions that affect our life of prayer affect our listening skills as well.

While a cornerstone of our faith is to make time to pray each day, we need to make time to listen, too.

Find a quiet place at home or turn off the radio or CD player in your car on your way to work or heading home. Close the door at your office or step outside for a few minutes away from the busyness that surrounds you. Be still and listen.

As Pope Benedict XVI said at the Vatican on April 29 while marking the World Day of Prayer for Vocations, God is always calling people to dedicate themselves fully to serving him, but they often don’t hear because they are too distracted or afraid they would no longer be free if they answered the call.

He especially urged prayers for members of our young generation still finding their way in life. The petitions, though, are appropriate for anyone still searching.

“Let us pray that all young people pay attention to the voice of God, who speaks to their hearts and calls them to detach themselves from everything in order to serve him,” he said.

“The Lord is always calling us, but very often we don’t listen.

“We are distracted by many things, by other voices that are more superficial, and because we are afraid to listen to the Lord’s voice because we think that it can take away our freedom,” he added.

The Holy Father also reminds us that each of us is deeply loved by God. As soon as we become aware of that love, he said, our lives change by becoming a response to God’s love, which in turn means human freedom is fully realized.

Living our faith can also help us fully realize many other things, including that our all-loving God wants what’s best for us.

Making time for prayer and listening each day are indeed ways to grow closer to him.

Whether we have a vocation to the priesthood or consecrated life, are destined to marry or have a single vocation, our Creator wants us to be happy.

Can we pray for vocations to the priesthood and consecrated life? Let us make the time so the answer becomes an unequivocal “yes.”

In praying for those priestly and religious vocations, as the Holy Father said, the universal Church and every local parish or community can become a lush garden “in which the seeds of vocations that God spreads in abundance can germinate and ripen.”

We can help cultivate that garden with our prayers. It’s that simple.

Be not afraid. May we begin transforming our lives, through prayer and listening, to do that today and each day.

—Mike Krokos

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