The charisma of the Rogationists is intelligence and zeal of the word of Jesus: “The harvest is plentiful but the labourers are few, therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out labourers into his harvest”
(Matthew 9:37, Luke 10:2).
The vocation and mission of the Rogationists is born from the human, spiritual and apostolic experience that Saint Annibale Maria Di Francia (1851-1927), under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, lived among the poor and little ones of Messina’s Avignone district. Recognised in the Church as the Apostle of Prayer for Vocations and Father of orphans and the poor, he was canonized by Pope John Paul II on 16 May 2004.
The mission of the Rogationists is:
- to pray daily to ensure “good labourers in the Kingdom of God”;
- propagate this spirit of prayer everywhere and promote vocations;
- be good labourers in the Church, engaged in works of charity, education and sanctification of children and young people, especially the poor and abandoned, in evangelization and human promotion and in helping the poor.
“The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few, therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out labourers into his harvest”
(Matthew 9:37, Luke 10:2)
On Saturday, 5 February 2011, in a review of the rogationist passage (Luke 10:2) Pope Benedict XVI, in the homily for the ordination of five bishops said:
“The harvest is plentiful, but the labourers are few! Therefore pray to the Lord of the harvest to send out labourers into his harvest!” (Luke 10:2). These words from the Gospel of today’s Mass touches us very closely in this hour. It is the time of the mission: the Lord sends you, dear friends, into his harvest. You must cooperate in the position mentioned by the prophet Isaiah in the first reading: “The Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek, he hath sent me to bind up the broken-hearted” (Isaiah 61.1). This is the work for the harvest in the field of God, within human history: to bring people the light of truth, free them from the poverty of truth, which is the real sadness and man’s real poverty. Bring them the good news that is not only word, but event: God, Himself, came, to us. He takes us by the hand, draws us upwards toward himself, and so the broken heart is healed. We thank the Lord that he sends labourers into the harvest of world history. We thank him because he sends you, because you said yes, and because in this time you will again pronounce your “yes” to being labourers of the Lord for men.
“The harvest is great” – also today, exactly today. While it may seem that large parts of the modern world, the people of today, turn their backs on God and consider faith a thing of the past – but there is the longing for justice, love, peace, that poverty and suffering are overcome, that men find joy. All this yearning is present in today’s world, the yearning for what is great, toward what is good. It is the longing of the Redeemer, God himself, even where he is denied. Precisely in this work in God’s field it is particularly urgent, and just at this hour we feel so particularly painfully the truth of Jesus’ words: “There are few labourers.” At the same time the Lord lets us understand that we cannot simply be on our own to send workers to his harvest; it is not a question of management, of our own organisational capacity. The workers for the field of his harvest can only be sent by God himself. But He wants to send them through the door of our prayer. We can cooperate for the coming of the labourers, but we can only do so by cooperating with God. So this time of thanksgiving for the accomplishment of being sent into mission is, in particular, also the hour of prayer: Lord, send labourers into your harvest! Open your hearts to your call! Do not let our prayer be in vain!