St. John Paul II: “Annunciation means vocation”
Address of the Holy Father John Paul II to the Pontifical Roman Seminary, on the Feast of the Annunciation.
We find ourselves on the solemn day of the Annunciation. Annunciation means vocation. Indeed, this is the day on which her unique vocation was revealed to the Virgin of Nazareth. The day on which the Virgin gave a succinct answer after knowing her vocation: Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord.
The mystery of the Annunciation has its own continuity; even though it is unique, it always has analogies in the life of the Church; because the life of the Church is realized through vocations, through different vocations. Christian life is a vocation, and in Christian life there are different vocations. There is also a priestly vocation that can be compared especially with the vocation of the Virgin of Nazareth. There is also the religious vocation with which the same comparison can be made. Thus, we can say that the seminary is an environment where the mystery of the Annunciation is repeated in the life of the Church with special intensity: it is the house of the Annunciation.
Here come those who have already received their annunciation, those who have already known the will of God and have given the first response: Here I am, I am the servant of the Lord. And they come here because in the seminary their response must mature, here it must become more rooted, here they must identify more with it. He who have received his vocation must identify himself more and more with this vocation. This is the fundamental purpose of the seminary. This is why the day of the Annunciation must be celebrated in the seminaries, and in the Roman Seminary in a special way.
I am personally grateful to have been able to take part in this commemoration of the Solemnity of the Annunciation in our Roman Seminary. I am grateful to Providence, to Our Lady and also to you who have invited me to this celebration of a Marian Solemnity so close to the seminary, to its very nature, to its deep purpose. I wish you, my dear friends, that your path, your vocational journey, may be always similar to this brief journey of the Annunciation. I hope that Our Lady will help you to
imitate her inner sensitivity to the Word of God and her unique, simple and decisive response: Behold the handmaid of the Lord.
(March 25, 1981)