(Vatican Radio) On Saturday evening, in the Grotto of Lourdes in the Vatican Gardens, Pope Francis with a group of young people from the Diocese of Rome who are involved in vocational discernment.
The meeting with the Pope on the Vigil of the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul is a tradition begun by Pope Benedict XVI which has been continued by Pope Francis.
Greeting the young people, the Holy Father apologized for being late, saying punctuality is important.
He then proceeded to speak about the importance of the Blessed Virgin Mary in our lives. “I thank you for this visit, this visit to the Madonna who is so important in our lives. And she accompanies even in the definitive choice, the vocational choice, because she accompanied her Son in his vocational path, which was so hard, so sorrowful. She accompanies us always.”
Pope Francis said he feels said when he hears Christians say they do not seek the Mary or pray to Mary. He recalled a conversation with two young catechists in the seventies, a couple with young children, who spoke beautifully about Jesus:
“At one point I said, ‘And devotion to the Madonna?’ ‘But we have passed that stage. We know Jesus Christ so well, that we have no need of the Madonna.’ And what came into my heart and my mind was ‘Oh… poor orphans!’ … because a Christian without the Madonna is an orphan. And a Christian without the Church is an orphan. A Christian needs these two women, these two women who are mothers, two women who are virgins: the Church and the Madonna. And to make a ‘test’ of a good Christian vocation, you need to ask yourself: ‘How is my relationship with these two mothers going?’ with mother Church and with mother Mary. This is not a question of ‘piety,’ no, it’s pure theology. This is theology. How is my relationship with the Church going, with my mother the Church, with the holy mother the hierarchic Church? And how is my relationship going with the Madonna, who is my Mamma, my Mother?”
Pope Francis wished the young people a “good journey of discernment.” “For each one of us,” he said, the Lord has his vocation, that place He wants us to live our lives.” But, the Pope continued, “we must seek it, find it; and then, continue in it, always going onward.”
The Holy Father concluded his remarks by asking the young people to keep in mind the definitive nature of a vocation. This is important for us, he said, “because we are living in a “provisional” culture, a culture that shies away from definitive choices. Pope Francis told a story, related to him by a bishop, of a young man who wanted to be a priest – but only for ten years! “We have a fear of the definitive,” the Pope said. But choosing a vocation – whether matrimony, consecrated life, the priesthood – should be chosen with a view to the definitive. This is opposed to the “provisional” culture that we experience every day – a culture that we must live in, but which we must also overcome.
Finally, Pope Francis led the young people in singing the “Salve Regina” to the Blessed Virgin Mary, before leaving them with a blessing and the request that they pray for him.