Originally published on Aleteia, republished with their permission
There are three steps in finding and accepting God’s call, Pope Francis suggested in Loreto on Monday, saying that the Annunciation spells out this “Marian way” for finding a vocation.
The first moment, that of listening, is manifested by those words of the Angel: “Do not be afraid, Mary; for you have found favor with God … you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call His name Jesus” (vv. 30-31).
The Holy Father said that it is always God who takes the first step in calling us to follow him.
He always precedes us, He precedes, He sets the way in our life. The call to faith and to a consistent path of Christian life or of special consecration is God’s discreet but powerful eruption in the life of a young person, to offer His love to him as a gift.
The pope added that noise and agitation will get in the way of listening to and welcoming the voice of God.
The second moment typical of every vocation is discernment, expressed in Mary’s words: “How will this be?” (v. 34).
Our Lady, here, is not doubting but expressing her “desire to discover the ‘surprises’ of God,” Francis said.
In her there is attention to grasping all the demands of God’s plan for her life, to know it in all its facets, to make her own collaboration more responsible and more complete. It is the attitude proper to the disciple: Every human collaboration in God’s gratuitous initiative must be inspired by a deepening of one’s own capacities and attitudes, linked with the awareness that it is always God Who gives, Who acts.
Decision is the third step that characterizes every Christian vocation, and is made explicit in Mary’s answer to the angel: “Let it be to me according to Your word” (v. 38).
This yes, the pope said, put into effect the Incarnation of God in her womb, and also meant a surrendering to Him of all of her life.
It is the “yes” of full trust and total availability to God’s will. Mary is the model of every vocation … The young who are seeking or questioning themselves about their future may find in Mary the one who helps them to discern God’s plan for them and the strength to adhere to it.