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|Pontifical Work for Ecclesiastical Vocations|
New Vocations for New Europe
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15. In listening to the Word, with wonder, we discover that the most comprehensive and fitting biblical-theological category for explaining the mystery of life, in the light of Christ, is that of "vocation".(28) "Christ the new Adam, in the very revelation of the mystery of the Father and of his love, fully reveals man to himself and brings to light his most high calling".(29)
Therefore the biblical figure of the community of Corinth presents the gifts of the Spirit, in the Church, as subordinate to the recognition of Jesus as the Lord. Truly Christology is at the basis of every anthropology and ecclesiology. Christ is the project of man. Only after the believer has recognised that Jesus is Lord "under the action of the Holy Spirit" (1 Cor 12, 3) can he welcome the statutes of the new community of believers: "Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of working, but it is the same God who inspires them all in every one" (1 Cor 12, 4-6).
The Pauline image clearly highlights three fundamental aspects of vocational gifts in the Church; these three aspects are strictly connected with their origin in the bosom of the Trinitarian communion and with specific reference to the individual Persons.
In the light of the Spirit the gifts are an expression of His infinite gratuitousness. He himself is charism (Acts 2, 38), the source of every gift and expression of the irrepressible divine creativity.
In the light of Christ vocational gifts are "ministries", which express the different types of service which the Son has lived even to the gift of his life. In fact "he came not to be served, and to give his life..." (Mt 20, 28). Jesus is therefore the model for every ministry.
Therefore the Church, as an icon, reflects the mystery of God the Father, of God the Son and of God the Holy Spirit; and each vocation carries in itself the traits characteristic of the three Persons of the Trinitarian communion. The divine Persons are the source and model of every call. Indeed, the Trinity, in itself, is a mysterious interconnection of calls and responses. Only there, within that uninterrupted dialogue, can each living person find not only his roots but also his destiny and his future, what he is called to be and to become, in truth and freedom, in the reality of his history.
In fact these gifts, in the ecclesiological statutes of 1 Corinthians, have a concrete, historical destination: "To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good" (1 Cor 12, 7). There is a higher good which regularly supplants the personal gift: to build up in unity the Body of Christ; to make visible his presence in history "so that the world may believe" (Jn 17, 21).
Accordingly the ecclesial community, on the one hand, is seized by the mystery of God and is a visible icon of it, and on the other, it is totally involved with the history of mankind in the world, in a state of exodus, towards "the new heaven".
28) Paul VI, Populorum progressio, 15.
29) Gaudium et spes, 22.
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