08/26/2004, 00.00
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Pope tells young people to worship God to be free

Message on the occasion of the 2005 World Youth Day in Cologne, Germany.

Vatican City (AsiaNews) – "Be worshippers of the only true God, giving Him pride of place in your lives! Worshipping the true God is an authentic act of resistance to all forms of idolatry." This is what John Paul II writes in his message inviting the youth of the world to come to the 20th World Youth Day scheduled to take place in Cologne, Germany, in August 2005.

"We have come to worship him" said the Magi. And as this passage from the Gospel of Matthew (Mt 2:2) speaks of the three Wise Men of the East so does it inspire the youth of the world to come to Cologne in whose cathedral –according to Christian tradition– the magi's remains rest.

Ever since its first edition in 1984 in Rome World Youth Day draws thousands of young people from around the world. The last time it was held was in Toronto, Canada, where it attracted some 800,000 young people.

In his message the Pope urges them not to yield to "false illusions and passing fads which so frequently leave behind a tragic spiritual vacuum! [. . .] There are those who seek the solution to their problems in religious practices that are incompatible with the Christian faith," the Pope writes.

"There is a strong urge to believe in the facile myths of success and power [but] it is dangerous to accept the fleeting ideas of the sacred which present God in the form of cosmic energy".

The Holy Father urges young people instead to "listen to Christ and worship Him", to bear witness among the "many of our contemporaries who do not yet know the love of God or who are seeking to fill their hearts with trifling substitutes. It is therefore urgently necessary for us to be witnesses to love contemplated in Christ."

The Pontiff goes on to invite those young people "who are not baptised or who do not identify with the Church" to come to Cologne for "are you not perhaps yearning for the Absolute and in search of 'something' to give a meaning to your lives?" If so, the Pope adds, "turn to Christ and you will not be let down."

The Pope gives some well-known saints as examples to turn to for prayer and devotion: Saint Boniface, the apostle of Germany, Ursula, Albert the Great, Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein) and the Blessed Adolph Kolping. These are "men and women whose lives have been transformed by meeting with Jesus, men and women who are capable of communicating this experience to others."

To read the full text of the Pope's invitation, click on the Message of the Holy Father John Paul II to the youth of the world on the occasion of the 20th World Youth Day
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