The Pope’s message presented the vocation as a response to divine love.
“We are loved by God even ‘before’ we come into existence,” the Holy Father stated. “Moved solely by his unconditional love, he created us ‘not … out of existing things,’ to bring us into full communion with Him. […]
“The profound truth of our existence is thus contained in this surprising mystery: every creature, and in particular every human person, is the fruit of God’s thought and an act of his love, a love that is boundless, faithful and everlasting. The discovery of this reality is what truly and profoundly changes our lives.”
The Bishop of Rome quoted at length St. Augustine’s expression of his discovery of God, “supreme beauty and supreme love.”
“[…] You called, you shouted, and you broke through my deafness. You flashed, you shone, and you dispelled my blindness. You breathed your fragrance on me; I drew in breath and now I pant for you. I have tasted you, now I hunger and thirst for more. You touched me, and I burned for your peace,” the Holy Father quoted.
“With these images,” he reflected, “the Saint of Hippo seeks to describe the ineffable mystery of his encounter with God, with God’s love that transforms all of life. It is a love that is limitless and that precedes us, sustains us and calls us along the path of life, a love rooted in an absolutely free gift of God.”
“Every specific vocation is in fact born of the initiative of God,” Benedict continued. “It is a gift of the Love of God! He is the One who takes the ‘first step,’ and not because he has found something good in us, but because of the presence of his own love ‘poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit.'”
Yet, the Holy Father said, “the appealing beauty of this divine love, which precedes and accompanies us, needs to be proclaimed ever anew, especially to younger generations.”
“This divine love,” he said, “is the hidden impulse, the motivation which never fails, even in the most difficult circumstances.”
If you get a chance today read Psalms 139.
H/T to Steve