Pope's message for World Day of Prayer for Vocations

 The Holy Father's message for the 40th World Day of Prayer for Vocations, this Sunday, is on the theme of: 'Vocation to Service'. It was published on October 16, 2002, the 24th anniversary of Pope John Paul's election to the papacy. Excerpts from the text follow: "1. 'Behold, my servant whom I have chosen, my beloved with whom my soul is well pleased'. "The theme of this Message for the 40th World Day of Prayer for Vocations invites us to return to the roots of the Christian vocation, to the story of the first person called by the Father, His Son Jesus. He is the 'servant' of the Father, foretold by the prophets as the One Whom the Father has chosen and formed from His mother's womb." "In today's culture the person who serves is considered inferior; but in sacred history the servant is the one called by God to carry out a particular action of salvation and redemption." "In the Bible, service is always linked to a specific call that comes from God. For this reason, it represents the greatest fulfillment of the dignity of the creature, as well as that which invokes the creature's mysterious, transcendent dimension." "2. 'Like a lamb that is led to slaughter ...' "In Sacred Scripture there is a strong and clear link between service and redemption, as well as between service and suffering. ... The Messiah is the Suffering Servant Who takes on His shoulders the weight of human sin. ... The Servant is the Lamb who ... showed an extraordinary power, the power not to react to evil with evil, but to respond to evil with good." 3. '... Even as the Son of man came not to be served but to serve'. "In truth, Jesus is the perfect model of the 'servant' of whom Scripture speaks. ... Jesus did not come to be served 'but to serve and to give His life as ransom for many'. Jesus washed the feet of His disciples and obeyed the plan of the Father, even unto death, death on a cross." "How can one not read in the story of the 'servant Jesus' ... the story that the Creator has planned for every human being? ... In particular, how can one not read in the parable of the Son, Servant and Lord, the vocational story of the person who is called by Jesus to follow Him more closely, that is, to be a servant in the priestly ministry or in religious consecration?" 4. 'Where I am, there shall My servant be also'. "Jesus, Servant and Lord, is also the One Who calls. He calls us to be like Him, because only in service do human beings discover their own dignity and the dignity of others." "With this Message I should like, in a way, to give voice to Jesus, so as to propose to young people the ideal of service, and to help them overcome the temptations of individualism and the illusion of obtaining their happiness in that way. Notwithstanding certain contrary forces, present also in the mentality of today, in the hearts of many young people there is a natural disposition to open up to others, especially to the most needy. This makes them generous, capable of empathy, ready to forget themselves in order to put the other person ahead of their own interests. "Dear young people, service is a completely natural vocation. ... Service shows that we are free from the intrusiveness of our ego. It shows that we have a responsibility to other people." "Dear young people, I hope you can know how to listen to the voice of God calling you to service. This is the road that opens up to so many forms of ministry for the benefit of the community: from the ordained ministry to various other instituted and recognized ministries, such as Catechesis, liturgical animation, education of young people and the various expressions of charity." 5. 'If any one would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all'. "This is how Jesus spoke to the Twelve, when He caught them discussing among themselves 'who was the greatest'. This is a constant temptation, which does not spare even the one called to preside at the Eucharist, the sacrament of the supreme love of the 'Suffering Servant'. Whoever carries out this service is actually called to be a servant in a yet more radical way. He is called, in fact, to act 'in persona Christi'." "Dear young men, nurture your attraction to those values and radical choices which will transform your lives into service of others. ... Do not let yourselves be seduced by the call of power and personal ambition. The priestly ideal must be constantly purified from these and other dangerous ambiguities." "The call of the Lord Jesus still resounds today. ... Do not be afraid to accept this call. You will surely encounter difficulties and sacrifices, but you will be happy to serve." Source: VIS

Share this story