Letter of Pope Benedict XVI for the up coming Year for Priests

"Pray the Lord of the Harvest to send out laborers." This means that the harvest is ready, but God wishes to enlist helpers to bring it into the storehouse. God needs them. He needs people to say: Yes, I am ready to become your harvest laborer; I am ready to offer help so that this harvest which is ripening in people's hearts may truly be brought into the storehouses of joy and love.

"Pray the Lord of the Harvest" also means we can't simply "produce" vocations; they must come from God. Unlike other professions, we cannot simply recruit people by using the right kind of publicity or the correct type of strategy. The call which comes from the heart of God must always find its way into the heart of man. And yet, precisely so that it may reach into hearts, our cooperation is needed.

To pray the Lord of harvest means above all to ask him for this, to stir his heart and say: "Please do this! Rouse laborers! Enkindle in them enthusiasm and joy for the gospel! Make them understand that this is a treasure greater than any other, and that whoever has discovered it, must hand it on!"

We stir the heart of God. But our prayer to God does not consist of words alone; the words alone; the words must lead to action so that from our praying heart a spark of our joy in God and in the Gospel may arise, enkindling in the hearts of others a readiness to say "yes."

As people of prayer, filled with his light, we reach out to others and bring them into our prayer and into the presence of God, who will not fail to do this part. In this sense we must continue to pray the Lord of the Harvest, to stir his heart, and together with God touch the hearts of others through prayer. And he, according to his purpose, will bring to maturity their "yes," their readiness to respond; the constancy, in other words, through all this world's perplexity, through the heart of the day and the darkness of the night, to persevere faithfully in his service.

Hence they will know that their efforts, however arduous, are noble and worthwhile because they lead to what is essential, they ensure that people receive what they hope for: God's light and God's love.

Benedict XVI

Meeting with the priests and deacons in Freising, Germany, 14 September 2006