The angel Gabriel was sent by God to a virgin named Mary of the town of Nazareth, greeting Her and announcing that She would bear a son who would be called Son of the Most High. Mary was “greatly troubled” and questioned, “How can this be…?”2 But trusting the Lord, She responded, “Let it be done to Me according to your word.”3 Thus does the Father’s plan for our salvation come to pass.
And just as the Incarnation of the Son of God was in the Father’s plan of salvation from all eternity, so every true vocation to serve the Lord is another part of this plan – a part of His mission to bring the Good News of our salvation to the world.
We pray that all young men and women who hear God calling to them in their hearts and are “questioning” or “greatly troubled,” will, as Mary did, place their trust in the Lord and say with Mary, “Let it be done to me according to your word.”
Mary enters the house of Zechariah and Her greeting reaches the ears of Elizabeth. The infant in Elizabeth’s womb leaps for joy and she exclaims, “Who am I that the Mother of my Lord should come to me? Blessed are you who believed that what was spoken to you by the
Lord would be fulfilled.”4
Scripture says she is “blessed” who believed, but so often, those who become aware that God may be calling them to the priesthood or consecrated life begin to doubt, even fear.
We pray for all who sense that God is calling them, that they will believe…and, in believing, be blessed…and being blessed, will be filled with the sheer joy of being chosen.
The Birth of Jesus
Mary gives birth to the Son of God. The Word made flesh becomes visible in a stable in Bethlehem. The Holy Family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph make their home in Nazareth.
We pray in this mystery for all families, for it is here in the devout living of the Faith that the seed of a vocation to the priesthood or consecrated life may first be planted and nurtured.
We pray that all parents will have a deep love and respect for one another, thus establishing a loving Christian environment for their family. We pray that they will be respectful and obedient to the Church, diligent in living and teaching the Faith, and holy in their
practice of devotion.
And we pray that mothers and fathers will pray for vocations – in the Church and in their own families – gently encouraging sons and daughters to pray and consider whether they, too, may be called to the priesthood or consecrated life.
Mary and Joseph present the infant Jesus in the Temple. They are met there by Simeon, a “holy and devout man,”5 and Anna, who “worshipped night and day”6 in the Temple. Called forth by the Spirit, both came to greet the infant Messiah.
We pray here for the Church, the parish environment, in which every “infant vocation” is presented.
We pray for holy and devout priests whose witness of joy and zeal in living out their priestly calling will invite young men to consider whether they, too, might be called to the priesthood.
We pray that there may be many generous souls in every parish who “worship night and day,” that their prayers to the Master of the Harvest might produce an abundant harvest and nurture the vocations developing in their midst.
Finally, we pray that every parish, as a family, might be a witness to the truth that all must know, love, and serve the Lord in order to fulfill and be fulfilled in every Christian vocation.
The Finding of the Boy Jesus in the Temple
When Mary and Joseph return from the Feast of Passover in Jerusalem, Jesus remains behind. After three days of searching, they find Him “in the temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions.”7
We pray for all our Catholic schools, home schools, catechetical and youth ministry programs, that in all these environments, parents, teachers and youth ministers, priests and consecrated, will take time to teach about vocations in the Church and pray with the youth for
their own vocations, thus opening young minds and hearts to the many possibilities. We pray that, by their word and example, those who minister to youth will encourage them to consider a life in service to the Lord.