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We are Called to ‘Play’ Well Together

Posted on May 28, 2022 in: Vocations

We are Called to ‘Play’ Well Together

One thing I learned from my experience playing team sports in high school was that personal excellence translates to team excellence when individuals perform excellently together (as a team). It’s not enough for players to play well individually. They have to play well together to succeed. 

Last month, on May 8 (Good Shepherd Sunday), Pope Francis released a message for the 59th World Day of Prayer for Vocations. 

In his message, he encourages all of us “to give the very best of ourselves in this great divine plan!” He says: “When we speak of ‘vocation,’ it is about making God’s dream come true, the great vision of fraternity that Jesus cherished when he prayed to the Father “that they may all be one ( Jn17:21).” 
Have you ever thought of “vocation” in this sense? As doing our part to make God’s dream of fraternity come true? Have you ever thought of what it might mean for you to give the very best of yourself in the service of God and the Church in this way?

Pope Francis understands the Church as a family. When he speaks of the individual, he speaks of the individual as always part of the wider community of the human family. This is an important point for us to consider. While our vocational journeys are personal and unique, they can only be undertaken together with the brothers and sisters whom the Lord has given to us. 

Each of us, he says, is a creature willed and loved by God. Each of us has a unique and special place in the mind of God. Each of us is addressed by God personally by God’s “loving and creative gaze” in Jesus. Indeed, vocations are born from this gaze, from this personal encounter with the Lord Jesus. Still, he says: “we do not only receive a vocation individually; we are also called together.” 

The Holy Father likens each of us to a tile of a mosaic or a star in the firmament of the universe. Each is lovely in itself, but only when we are put together do we “form a picture” or “form constellations that can guide and light up the path of humanity.” In this sense, “vocation” refers to our common and shared participation in the life and mission of Christ to “reunite a fragmented humanity and to reconcile it with God. Together,” he says, “with all men and women of goodwill, we want to help build the human family, heal its wounds and guide it to a better future.”

As members of the Church, we are all called to bear witness to the truth of that “one great human family united in love.” This means that we are called to be protagonists together of the Church’s mission. He says, “We know the Church exists to evangelize, to go forth and to sow the seed of the Gospel in history. This mission can only be carried out if all areas of pastoral activity work together and, even more importantly, involve all the Lord’s disciples.” 

So what can we take away from Pope Francis’ message to us? I think back to his words from his 2013 TED talk when he reminded us “that we all need each other, none of us is an island, an autonomous and independent ‘I,’ separated from the other, and we can only build the future by standing together, including everyone.” 

Each of us is called to do our part in making God’s dream of fraternity come true. We do this by accepting the vocation that God entrusts to us. Whether it is as a priest, a religious, a married person or a single person, each of us, in every ecclesial vocation and ministry, is called “to serve goodness and to spread love with our works and words.” 

We do this in our own way, with our own gifts and talents, in our own respective roles and positions, together. Always together. This, I believe, is his message for us: It’s not enough for us to “play” well individually. We have to “play” well together. Always together.

Father Jonathan  Ficara
Director of Vocations


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