Jesus was touring around the towns and villages. He saw the crowd… He felt compassion for them… and He said “Pray” (Matthew 9:35-38 and Luke 10:2)
Upon seeing the lost crowd Jesus immediately felt compassion for them and His immediate solution to the problem was to pray!
Pray the Lord of the Harvest to send labourers to His harvest. (Mt.9:38)
Jesus saw that there was a lack of people in the crowd who could teach and direct lives towards God who would accompany, console and give them comfort when they were weary, broken, harassed and dejected – like sheep without a shepherd. So, to this day, Jesus urges us to pray for labourers in the Church such as priests and consecrated religious, who have a great responsibility for leading people to God and who live their lives according to the Gospel, proclaiming the good news of our salvation. This prayer is born from Jesus’ merciful and compassionate heart. He is telling us that to pray is the solution of any social problems, for saving lost souls. The Rogate, to pray, is a gift from our Good Shepherd so that we may have many good shepherds caring for His flock, the Church.
We pray that heaven rains down upon us vocations – and it is the quality of vocations that matters more than the quantity. We pray for good and holy vocations. However, such vocations will not come automatically – they require that we ardently beg the Lord of the Harvest for them, and hope that He answers our plea for holy vocations. We especially need to pray for priestly and religious vocations.
Although watched over by human shepherds, we are nevertheless at all times led and brought to pasture by Christ Himself, the Good Shepherd and prince of shepherds, who gave His life for His sheep. (L.G.6)
The urgency of prayer for good and holy vocations is still very much needed for us today. This is the prayer that the Church needs for the salvation of souls.
The Church today celebrates Good Shepherd Sunday and the 54th World Day of Prayer for Vocations, and we continue to pray for good shepherds of our time who will guide and lead people to the sanctity of life so that throughout their lives they will also be living witnesses of Christ as people who pray, who are merciful, loving and compassionate, like Jesus is to all of us, His flock. Our prayer is an important gift to have holy shepherds, holy vocations for the salvation of the Church. Pray therefore to the Lord of the harvest… is our unceasing prayer, asking God to rain down those holy vocations for the Church. The Pope encourages us thus:
To be a missionary disciple means to share actively in the mission of Christ. This is also our mission: to be anointed by the Spirit, and to go out to our brothers and sisters in order to proclaim the word and to be for them a means of salvation. (Pope Francis, Message for 54th World Day Prayer for Vocation, 2017)
St. Annibale Maria Di Francia generously responded to the call of God’s love for priestly vocations as he totally lived his life in the spirit of Rogate – to pray for vocations.
Fr. Annibale realized that Rogate was not simply a recommendation of our Lord, but an explicit command and an “infallible remedy”. This is why his Charism has to be considered as the principal animator of a providential foundation in the Church. Another aspect to be revealed is that he was much ahead in considering vocations also for committed lay persons: parents, teachers and even good government leaders.” (Prayers for Good Workers, p.51)
Prayer to Jesus in the Eucharist
that He may send good labourers
to the Holy Church
O most adorable Lord Jesus,
hidden in the most ineffable mystery of Your infinite love,
we raise to You our ardent yearnings.
O Redeemer of the human family,
send labourers of the Gospel for the salvation of all people.
You may remain silent and hidden in the Eucharist
but not Your Divine Heart and Your almighty Word.
Shoot the loving arrows and call young men to Your priesthood;
let Your most sweet voice be heard
from the depths of Your Tabernacle
in all Catholic nations by numerous youths,
by well-disposed youngsters and
effectively call them to Your sanctuary.
O Jesus in the Eucharist,
You pass in the midst of us
as You passed along the streets of Jerusalem.
Renew the miracle of vocations
You personally performed among the apostles.
Provident and loving Jesus,
we pray You that through this same mystery of love and
faith You may not refuse our prayer.
Remember that from the infinite love of Your Heart
these two sacraments were born together:
the Eucharist and the Priesthood.
Remember that after the great miracle of the Banquet,
You formed priests to whom You gave
the power of consecrating Your Body and Blood.
For that love by which You made Yourself
remain with us in the Eucharist,
send numerous and holy ministers who know and love You,
who consecrate and offer You
in the Mass to the Eternal Father.
May they glorify You with good works.
May they make You known to all people
through the Divine Word.
May they make the poor and the children love You,
distribute You as nourishment to the faithful,
and work zealously for the honour and propriety of Your sanctuary.
O most loving Heart of the Supreme God in the Eucharist,
watch over Your growing and sighing Church,
watch over the poor souls who perish due to lack of good labourers,
listen to the fervent supplications of Your unworthy creature.
Hear us, O kind and merciful Lord,
for the greater consolation of your Divine Heart.
(Fr. Annibale Maria Di Francia, Let Us Pray For Vocations pp.30-31)
Image Credit: Artwork that appears at bottom of article image is from the Istituto Comprensivo Paritario Annibale Maria Di Francia