In his prayer request each month, the pope focuses on ies that are important to him. In May, he appeals for openness to the Good News and for Mary to strengthen willingness to confess Christ.
May invites us to begin again with Mary. The month of Mary is an invitation to follow Jesus with Mary – no one is forced; no one has a doctrine imposed on them. But to each one of us a vocation has been given, which we are invited to discover and live. It would be nice if as many people as possible could make new friends with their vocation and get involved with it. This is also what the pope wishes for when he prays in May for Mary to strengthen "the readiness to confess for Christ".
What is the great story of salvation but a chain of vocation stories! Most of the time, the call of God is not spectacular, but rather incidental, often quite unexpected. Again and again people have set out: they have opened themselves to the call and set out, even if the future was new territory for them. They have embarked on an adventure. And this adventure is called Jesus.
It began with Mary. Somewhere in Nazareth. She hears a word, feels affected and can't get away from it. She says yes to a path that seems completely dark to her. She is spared (almost) nothing. But she believes. Through all the misunderstandings and incomprehensions, she stands by her son. They hold on to him – even under the cross.
Mary is a person like all of us. A called and chosen one who must wrestle for her faith, which is her common thread in life. It becomes the measure by which we can be guided. For the history of salvation is not something that has happened, that is ephemeral. It is the weaving pattern of history until today. The story of salvation continues – with us and through us. Therefore, we can let our vocation be reflected in the life of the Blessed Mother and congratulate her on the vocation that she exemplified and left us as a model.
Whoever traces Mary's life a little will discover her as a listener. In the tympanum of the Wurzburg Lady Chapel is depicted how Mary receives Christ through the ear. The scene makes the viewer smile a bit. For the Child Jesus slides as on a slide into the ear of the Blessed Mother. "Sola fide", by faith alone, by being addressed by God, Mary is all ears to his call. The rest of her life continues the beginning of the Annunciation.
Are we able to listen?
Mary as an "auricle" holds up a mirror to us: Are we able to listen?? The listener expects more than an exchange of information. He tries to listen into the other: What resonates in his voice? Saying something by remaining silent? Listening to a person can be a new discovery. But often we have forgotten how to listen. As a priest I wish to become more and more a listener. Perhaps the lack of vocations to the priesthood and religious orders is also due to a lack of willingness to listen – to the hardness of hearing of those who accompany young people in the family, among friends and in pastoral care. A young person does not normally open the door with his personal questions, he knocks timidly on the door of people in whom he has trust.
Looking at Mary can be a help to clean the auditory canals of our heart, so that they become more sensitive again for the silent call of God and the shy inquiries of the people who ask us for advice and accompaniment. Mary's open ears can be a model for us, we can ask her for the courage to expose ourselves to the silence of waiting and listening in which God's proclamation can also be made today.
In Mary we have a good example of how to make difficult and unconventional decisions. Her promise at the Annunciation did not turn out to be a cheeky slip of the tongue – it was a spirited yes. For this reason, too, we may ask Mary for her maternal intercession, so that we, too, may remain faithful to the decisions we make about our own vocation.