Paths of Love: The Discernment of Vocation

Texts of Pope Benedict XVI cited in the book

Here you will find a compilation of the texts of Pope Benedict XVI cited or mentioned in the book Paths of Love.

  • God has a plan for each of us

    • The Lord has his plan for each of us, he calls each one of us by name. Our task is to be listeners, capable of perceiving his call, to be courageous and faithful, so that we may follow him, and in the end, be found as trustworthy servants who have used well the gifts entrusted to us. (Homily for the Marian Vespers with the Religious and Seminarians of Bavaria, September 11, 2006.)

    • Before the creation of the world, before our coming into existence, the heavenly Father chose us personally, calling us to enter into a filial relationship with him, through Jesus, the Incarnate Word, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. (Message for 43rd World Day of Prayer for Vocations, May 7, 2006.)

  • The source of this plan is God's love for us

    • He loves us, he makes us see and experience his love, and from God’s loving us ‘first,’ love can also arise as a response within us.
  • Love is the root and goal of every vocation

    • If you are engaged to be married, God has a project of love for your future as a couple and as a family. Therefore, it is essential that you discover it with the help of the Church, free from the common prejudice that says that Christianity with its commandments and prohibitions places obstacles to the joy of love and impedes you from fully enjoying the happiness that a man and woman seek in their reciprocal love. The love of a man and woman is at the origin of the human family and the couple formed by a man and a woman has its foundation in God’s original plan (cf Gen 2:18–25). Learning to love each other as a couple is a wonderful journey, yet it requires a demanding “apprenticeship”. The period of engagement, very necessary in order to form a couple, is a time of expectation and preparation that needs to be lived in purity of gesture and words. It allows you to mature in love, in concern and in attention for each other; it helps you to practise self-control and to develop your respect for each other. These are the characteristics of true love that does not place emphasis on seeking its own satisfaction or its own welfare. In your prayer together, ask the Lord to watch over and increase your love and to purify it of all selfishness. Do not hesitate to respond generously to the Lord’s call, for Christian matrimony is a true and proper vocation in the Church. (Message for 22nd World Youth Day, 2007.)
  • How God reveals this plan

    • God speaks with us in many different ways. He speaks by means of others, through friends, parents, pastors, priests. Here, the priests to whom you are entrusted, who are guiding you.

      He speaks by means of the events of our life, in which we can discern God’s gesture; he speaks also through nature, creation, and he speaks, naturally and above all, in his Word, in Sacred Scripture, read in the communion of the Church and read personally in conversation with God. It is important to read Sacred Scripture, on the one hand in a very personal way, and really, as St. Paul says, not as a human word or a document from the past as we read Homer or Virgil, but as God’s Word which is ever timely and speaks to me. It is important to learn to understand in a historical text, a text from the past, the living Word of God, that is, to enter into prayer and thus read Sacred Scripture as a conversation with God.

      St. Augustine often says in his homilies: I knocked on various occasions at the door of this Word until I could perceive what God himself was saying to me. It is of paramount importance to combine this very personal reading, this personal talk with God in which I search for what the Lord is saying to me, and in addition to this personal reading, reading it in the community is very important because the living subject of Sacred Scripture is the People of God, it is the Church. (Address to the Seminarians of the Roman Major Seminary, February 17, 2007.)

  • Different ways of experiencing the call

    • In the course of the centuries so many men and women, transformed by divine love, have consecrated their own existence to the cause of the Kingdom. Already on the shores of the Sea of Galilee, many let themselves be won by Jesus: they were in search of healing in body or spirit, and they were touched by the power of his grace. Others were chosen personally by him and became his apostles. We also find some, like Mary Magdalene and other women, who followed him on their own initiative, simply out of love. But like the disciple John, they too filled a special place in his heart. These men and women, who through Jesus knew the mystery of the Father’s love, represent the variety of vocations which have always been present in the Church. (Message for 43rd World Day of Prayer for Vocations, May 7, 2006.)

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