Votive Mass for Vocations

Today we offer the Eucharist in prayer for vocations.  When I entered New Melleray back in 1957 we had fifty novices.  Thirty were choir novices who prayed the full liturgy of the hours in church every day, and twenty were lay novices who supported the community by their manual labor.  Every evening at 6:00 the novice director, Fr. Maurus, would enter our reading room and at his signal we would all kneel by our desks and pray together for vocations!  (As if there weren’t enough already!)  We didn’t need more, but we prayed and they came.  Today we need more, but we pray and hardly anyone comes. 

Does prayer really make any difference?  Can we change God’s mind because we pray?  Doesn’t God will what is good for us like any loving father does for his children?  Are we to stand before God like Elijah and say, “Answer me, Lord!” and expect him to send from heaven the fire we need to change people’s hearts?  Isn’t it rather presumptuous to think God does what we will because we pray?  Yet Jesus says, “Ask and you will receive.”  And every word of Jesus is true. 

We do not change God’s will by our prayers, we fulfill it. There are many favors of grace that God wills to give us because we pray for them.  If we do not pray for them, we are not doing his will, for Jesus said, “Knock and the door will be opened.”  So, let us keep asking, knocking and seeking for what we need because it is God’s will that our prayers will be answered in ways that fulfill his loving plans for us.  Then, when it happens, we will rejoice and say, “The Lord is God, the Lord is God!”