May 4, 2015

VATICAN CITY – Following a vocation to the priesthood or religious life is to live an experience of “exodus,” Pope Francis said.

That exodus involves joyfully leaving behind all that enslaves and journeying to a Promised Land of love, service and mission, the pope said in his message for the 2015 World Day of Prayer for Vocations April 26.

“Responding to God’s call, then, means allowing him to help us leave ourselves and our false security behind.”

After abandoning false security, one strikes out “on the path which leads to Jesus Christ, the origin and destiny of our life and our happiness,” he said.

The message was released at the Vatican April 14.

Every Christian vocation is rooted in this sense of movement, of journeying and going forward, Pope Francis said.

“Belief means transcending ourselves, leaving behind our comfort and the inflexibility of our ego in order to centre our life in Jesus Christ,” the pope wrote.

Just like Abraham, Moses and the people of Israel, all children of God are called to leave behind the land they know and trust completely in God to show them the way to a whole new world.

The journey is not about running away in “contempt” from life and reality, he wrote. “The Christian vocation is first and foremost a call to love, a love which attracts us and draws us out of ourselves.”


A vocation, just like Christian life in general, is “an attitude of conversion and transformation, an incessant moving forward, a passage from death to life like that is celebrated in every liturgy, an experience of Passover,” he said.

The journey is God’s work, he wrote.

“He leads us beyond our initial situation, frees us from every enslavement, breaks down our habits and our indifference, and brings us to the joy of communion with him and with our brothers and sisters.”

A vocation to priesthood or religious life doesn’t just transform the individual, he wrote, it also has an impact on all of society.

It leads to the person serving God’s kingdom on earth and being inspired “to solidarity in bringing liberation to our brothers and sisters, especially the poorest,” he said.