Vocation Is a Call to Service, Says John Paul II

Message for a World Day of Prayer

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VATICAN CITY, NOV. 24, 2002 (Zenit.org).- Every call from God is an invitation to serve others, John Paul II says in the message written for the World Day of Prayer for Vocations.

The Day of Prayer, observed next May 11, will have as its theme “Vocation to Service.”

“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,” the Pope explains in his message.

“The servant knows that he has received all he had and is,” he writes. “As a result, he also feels called to place what he has received at the service of others.”

In the “servant Jesus,” the papal message discovers “the story of every vocation: the story that the Creator has planned for every human being” and, in particular, “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.”

At the same time, the Pope adds, “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.

“He calls to serve as he has served. When interpersonal relationships are inspired to reciprocal service, a new world is created and, in it, an authentic vocational culture is developed.”

With his message, the Holy Father says that he wishes “to give voice to Jesus, so as to propose to young people the ideal of service, and to help them to 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,” the Pope stresses. “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,” he exhorts, “service is a completely natural vocation, because human beings are by nature servants, not being masters of their own lives and being, in their turn, in need of the service of others.”

He adds: “Young people, in a special way it is up to you to ensure that charity finds expression, in all its spiritual and apostolic richness.”

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