Vocation Icon Program
“I Have Chosen You”
The icon ” I Have Chosen You ” portrays many aspects of discerning a spiritual vocation. The title comes from the words of Jesus in the Gospel of John: “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide” ( 15:16 ).
In the icon, Christ is shown in dialogue with a man and a woman, representatives of all who are invited to serve through ordination or religious life.
Both individuals are moving out of the world, symbolized by the woman partially in the border, towards Christ. The scroll in Our Lord’s hand represents His teachings. An angel, holding a scroll that reads “discernment,” guides and protects those contemplating the request of the Lord. The entire scene takes place on desolate ground. A single tree, symbolic of vitality, breaks the barren landscape. This setting reveals several more characteristics of discerning a vocation:
First, it takes place outdoors, in a place without walls, symbolic of the Church not being an earthly institution of buildings and structures but a new life in Christ. Second, as Jesus saw Nathaniel under the fig tree and called him to discipleship (John 1:48 ), Jesus intimately knows those whom He calls. Third, the tree’s lower branch connects the man and woman to the trunk, representing the vocations as the branches of Christ’s vine (John 15:5).
An individual does not choose to serve Christ, but rather is chosen by Him specifically for His service. One is called to blossom and bear fruit through the grace received in ordination or religious life, and not to be fruitless and cut off by the Divine Gardner (John 15:2).
Prayer for Vocations
O Lord our God, older than all creation, you have
made us in your image and likeness.
You have given us the gift of the Holy Spirit through
your servants who proclaim the good news of your
Church all that is necessary for our sanctification.
We humbly beg you, do not leave your people deprived
of spiritual gifts, but grant us an abundance of
vocations to your holy priesthood, the diaconate and
consecrated life, and to lives dedicated to your service.
Open the hearts of men and women to hear your words,
“Come, follow me!”
Indeed, do not leave us orphans, but be with us through
your Holy Spirit, who is present everywhere and
fills all things, and who raises up mere mortals
to divine service by the mystery of his grace.
Truly you will never forget your promise to be
with us always, until the end of the world,
but forgive us if we have, in our weakness,
failed to follow you as we should.
For you alone are holy now and ever and forever.