Notable quotations from Pope John Paul II and official teachings of the Roman Catholic Church
"...The time has come to re-propose wholeheartedly to everyone this high standard of ordinary Christian living: the whole life of the Christian community and of Christian families must lead in this direction" (Novo Millennio inuente, n. 31). The main task of the Church is to lead Christians along the path of holiness.
The Church is "the home of holiness" and the charity of Christ, poured out by the Holy Spirit, is her soul. In her, all Christians help one another to discover and fulfill their own vocation by listening to the word of God, in prayer, by assiduously participating in the Sacraments and incessantly seeking the face of Christ in every brother and sister.
Every vocation in the Church is at the service of holiness. Some however, such as vocations to ordained ministry and consecrated life, are at the service of holiness in a thoroughly unique manner. It is to these vocations that I invite everyone to pay particular attention today, by intensifying their prayers for them.
The small number of candidates to the priesthood and consecrated life reported in some situations today, must not lead us to expect less and settle for a mediocre formation and spirituality. Rather, it should urge greater attention to the selection and formation of those who, once constituted ministers and witnesses of Christ, will be called upon to confirm with holiness of life, what they announce and celebrate.
It is necessary to adopt all means to ensure that vocations to the priesthood and consecrated life, essential for the life and holiness of God's People, are continuously at the center of spirituality, of pastoral action and of the prayer of the faithful.
May Bishops and priests be, first of all, witnesses to the holiness of the ministry they have received as gift. With their life and teaching, may they show the joy of following Jesus...
May consecrated men and women, who live at "the very heart of the Church as a decisive element for her mission" (Vita consecrata, n. 3), show that their existence is firmly rooted in Christ, that religious life is the "home and school of communion" (Novo Millennio ineunte, n. 43), that in their humble and faithful service to mankind pulses that "creativity of charity" (ibid, n. 50) which the Holy Spirit always keeps alive in the Church.
Families are called to play a decisive role for the future of vocations in the Church. The holiness of marital love, the harmony of family life, the spirit of faith with which the problems of daily life are confronted, openness towards others, especially the poorest, and participation in the life of the Christian community form the proper environment for their children to listen to the divine call and make a generous response.
(Source: Message for World Day of Prayer for Vocations, April 21, 2002, issued September 8, 2001)
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