The Popes and Discernment

From POPE BENEDICT XVI:

It is for the gift of vocations that the Church prays everyday to the Holy Spirit. As at its beginning, gathered around the Virgin Mary, Queen of the Apostles, the community of the Church learns from her how to implore the Lord for a flowering of new apostles who will know how to live in themselves that faith and that love which are necessary for the mission. (FOR THE 45TH WORLD DAY OF PRAYER FOR VOCATIONS December 3, 2007)

In order to respond to the call of God and start on our journey, it is not necessary to be already perfect. (World Day of Prayer for Vocations, May 7, 2006)

Another special vocation, which occupies a place of honour in the Church, is the call to the consecrated life. Following the example of Mary of Bethany who “sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching” (Lk 10, 39), many men and women consecrate themselves to a total and exclusive following of Christ. (World Day of Prayer for Vocations, May 7, 2006)

[The one called] experiences the beauty of that call in a moment of grace which could be defined as "falling in love." His soul is filled with amazement, which makes him ask in prayer: "Lord, why me?" But love knows no "why"; it is a free gift to which one responds with the gift of self. (World Youth Day, August 19, 2005).

You have not chosen him, he has chosen you (cf. John 15:16). Here is the secret of your vocation and your mission! It is kept in the Immaculate Heart of Mary, who watches over each one of you with a mother's love. Have recourse to her, often and with confidence. I assure you of my affection and my daily prayers. And I bless all of you from my heart. (World Youth Day, August 19, 2005)

From POPE JOHN PAUL II:

He has chosen you, in a mysterious but real way, to make you saviors with Him and like Him. Yes, Christ calls you, but He calls you in truth. His call is demanding, because He invites you to let yourselves be “captured” by Him completely, so that your whole lives will be seen in a different light. Let yourselves be seized by Jesus and try to live just for Him! (Rome, Italy; October 13, 1993) Young people of the world, hear His voice! Hear His voice and follow Him!” (Denver, USA; August 1993)

Some advice to all in the name of Jesus Christ…I would like to ask each one of you: What will you do with your life? What are your plans? Have you ever thought of committing your existence totally to Christ? Do you think that there can be anything greater than to bring Jesus to people and people to Jesus? (Rome, Italy; May 13, 1984) Do not be afraid of the radicalness of His demands, because Jesus, who loved us first, is prepared to give Himself to you, as well as asking of you. If He asks much of you, it is because He knows you can give much. (Rome, Italy; September 8, 1992) There is a wonderful way of experiencing love in life: it is the vocation to follow Christ in the celibate state freely chosen or in the state of virginity for the love of the Kingdom of Heaven. I ask each one of you to question yourselves seriously about whether God may not be calling you to one of these paths. And to all of those who suspect that they have this personal vocation, I say: pray insistently to receive the needed clarity, but then reply with a joyful yes. (Cordoba, Argentina; September 8, 1985) Be certain that, if you listen to His call and follow Him, you will find great joy and happiness. Be generous, take courage, and remember His promise: “My yoke is easy and My burden light” (Mt. 11:30). (Manchester, England; May 31, 1982)

You are at the great crossroads of your lives and you must decide how your future can be lived happily, accepting the responsibilities which you hope will be placed squarely on your shoulders, playing an active role in the world around you. You ask me for encouragement and guidance, and most willingly I offer some words of advice to all of you in the name of Jesus Christ. In the first place I say this: You must never think that you are alone in deciding your future! And second: When deciding your future, you must not decide for yourself alone! (Edinburgh, Scotland; May 31, 1982)

During the years of youth each person develops his own personality... It is a time for facing the great questions, the choice between selfishness and generosity. (Asuncion, Paraguay; May 18, 1988) If someone among you hears Christ’s call to a complete gift of self in the religious life, do not reject such a noble, though demanding , proposal. Have the courage to say yes generously and firmly; this can give an incomparable depth of meaning to your whole life. (Rome, Italy; March 18, 1989)

A religious vocation is a gift, freely given and received. It is a profound expression of the love of God for you, and, on your part, it requires in turn a total love for Christ. The whole life of a religious is aimed at strengthening the bond of love which was first forged in the Sacrament of Baptism. You are called to do this in religious consecration through the profession of the evangelical counsels of chastity, poverty and obedience. (San Antonio, USA; September 13, 1987)

Take heart, young people! Christ is calling you and the world awaits you! Remember that the kingdom of God needs your generosity and complete dedication. Do not act like the rich young man who, invited by Christ, was unable to choose and kept his possessions and sadness, he who had been looked upon with a loving gaze. Act like those fishermen who, called by Jesus, immediately left everything behind and became fishers of men. (Rome, Italy; February 2, 1989)

If some of you hear the call to follow Christ more closely, to dedicate your entire heart to Him, like the apostles John and Paul, be generous, do not be afraid, because you have nothing to fear when the prize that you await is God himself, for Whom, sometimes without ever knowing it, all young people are searching. (Asuncion, Paraguay; May 18, 1988)

"There is one thing you lack; come, follow me" (Mk 10:21). Is Jesus perhaps repeating to some of you today: There is one thing you lack"? Is He perhaps asking for even more love, more generosity, more sacrifice? Yes, the love of Christ involves generosity and sacrifice. To follow Christ and to serve the world in His name requires courage and strength. There is no place for selfishness - and no place for fear! Do not be afraid, then, when love makes demands. Do not be afraid when love requires sacrifice. (Auckland, New Zealand; November 22, 1986)

“Do whatever He tells you.” In these words Mary expresses, above all, the deepest secret of her life. The whole of her person is in these words. Her life, in fact, has been a total yes to the Lord. A yes filled with joy and trust. And these words enclose a very important message, relevant to every man of every age. This “do whatever He tells you” means: listen to Jesus, my Son, act on His word and put your trust in Him. Learn to say yes to the Lord in every situation of your life. This message of great comfort is one of which we all have need. (Rome, Italy; December 13, 1987)

You must welcome Mary into your young lives as the apostle John took her “to his home.” May you allow her to be your mother. May you open your hearts and consciences to her. May she always help you find Christ, to “follow Him”, on all the paths of your lives. (Rome, Italy; March 23, 1986)