“Seeing the crowds, He felt compassion for them, because they were distressed and downcast, like sheep without a shepherd … The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Therefore, plead (ROGATE) with the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest.” (Mt. 9:36-37; Lk. 10:2)
At the core of the life of St. Hannibal Mary Di Francia is the ROGATE. This is a divine command from Jesus Christ to pray for more and holy servants of God in the Church and in the world. The ROGATE is the gift given by the Holy Spirit to St. Hannibal which animated him to serve the Lord and our poor brothers and sisters, who are “distressed and downcast.”
The Holy Spirit enabled St. Hannibal to pray unceasingly so that the Lord will send more and holy laborers, especially deacons, priests and people of different forms of consecrated life. St. Hannibal spent a lot of time in front of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament to live this great gift of the ROGATE. This aspect of the life of St. Hannibal highlights the importance of prayer, in particular, for more and holy vocations in the Church at this moment. Our experience testifies the said need in our Church and the world. This confirms that the said need can be addressed through prayer, which the Lord will surely listen and respond to. Celebrating the Feast of St. Hannibal is both a reminder of our and an invitation for deeper commitment to pray. All of us are encouraged to pray with and for the Holy Mother Church. As we participate in the Holy Mass and other forms of Communitarian prayer, we include in our intentions the petition that the Lord will continue to sanctify priests and consecrated persons and to pray that more people will follow the Lord as priests and consecrated persons. We are also encouraged to set aside time for personal prayers, which complements the aforementioned communitarian prayers. This includes, among others, visit to the Blessed Sacrament, Rosary and other practices of piety.
The Holy Spirit, at the same time, leads St. Hannibal to live and journey with our poor brothers and sisters from an inhumane situation of poverty and oppression to a life which is God-centered, humane and just. He was instrumental in the liberation of our needy brothers and sisters from poverty and oppression by sharing the blessings coming from God to them. He served the poor by giving his life. He accompanied them to a life which is in a relationship with God. Charity is a life with God, which is full of life blessings. This becomes a moment of self reflection to look at how we serve our needy brothers and sisters. We pray that all of us will continue to be committed in doing concrete actions that will improve the quality of life of our needy brethren. For others, this could be an encouragement to start helping others and sharing the blessings we received from the Lord.
As St. Hannibal shows us how to live the ROGATE through Prayer and Charity, we open ourselves to the Lord. We ask the Holy Spirit to make us holy servants of the Lord in the Church and the world. We commit ourselves to be holy and faithful to the Lord in the respective fields of our profession or work. At the same time, we pray for ourselves that God will continue to guide and keep us all in His Loving Presence.
God bless us all