Pontiff Gives Secret to Vocational Discernment

And a Guideline to Determine “True Prayer”

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SULMONA, Italy, JULY 5, 2010 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI is telling youth the secret of recognizing God’s call, affirming that  the trick is making the heart accustomed to recognizing the Lord.

The Pope said this Sunday during his one-day trip to the Abruzzi region of Italy, devastated by an earthquake in 2009. While in Sulmona, he had a meeting with youth in the city’s cathedral.

Responding to their questions, he told them the “secret of a vocation lies in the capacity and in the joy of distinguishing [God’s] voice, of listening to and following his voice. But to do this, it is necessary to accustom our heart to recognize the Lord, to hear him like a person who is near me and who loves me.”

The Holy Father asserted that for this, moments of “interior silence in the day-to-day routine” are essential.

But once one has learned to hear this voice, he said, and to generously follow it, “one fears nothing, he or she knows and feels that God is with him or her, and that he is a Friend, Father and Brother.”

“Said in one word: the secret of a vocation lies in the relationship with God, in prayer that grows precisely in interior silence, in the capacity to feel that God is near,” the Pontiff added. “And this is true both before the decision, at the moment, that is, of deciding and of leaving, as well as later if one wishes to be faithful and to persevere along the way.”

Addressing problems

Going on to clarify the concept of prayer, Benedict XVI affirmed that “true prayer” is not “foreign to reality.”

“If praying alienated you, took you away from your real life, beware: it would not be true prayer,” he said. “On the contrary, dialogue with God is the guarantee of truth, of truthfulness with oneself and with others and, therefore, of liberty.”

In this sense, the Pope acknowledged, faith and prayer “do not resolve problems, but enable one to address them with a new light and strength, in a way fitting to man, and also more serenely and effectively.”

He said the history of the Church is full of saints who, precisely with prayer, “were always able to find new, creative solutions to respond to concrete human needs in every century: health, education, work, etc.”

“Their daring,” the Pope reflected, “was animated by the Holy Spirit and by a strong and generous love of brothers, especially of the weakest and most underprivileged.”

As Benedict XVI concluded his meeting with the young people, he admitted his regret at having to leave.

However, he said, “I leave happy, as a father who is serene because he has seen that his children are growing and are growing well. Carry on, dear young people! Carry on in the way of the Gospel; love the Church, our Mother; be simple and pure of heart; be humble and generous.”

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On ZENIT’s Web page:

Full text: www.zenit.org/article-29803?l=english

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