Pope: Young people, do not pass by in the face of human suffering
Benedict XVI takes part in the Via Crucis, one of the central WYD events. Precious sculptural groups, typical of Spanish Holy Week devotion on display. The plight of young people in the Holy Land, the persecuted, the unemployed, the poor recalled. A prayer to Santísima María de Regla, Our Lady of Sorrows venerated in Seville.
Madrid (AsiaNews) - Benedict XVI addressed an appeal to the young people of WYD not to "pass by in teh face of the human suffering" and, following in the footsteps of Christ, become "signs of his consolation and salvation." The pope was speaking to the young people at the end of the Via Crucis celebrated around the Plaza de Cibeles.

Along a short path 14 station were marked by a sculptural group typical of Spanish Holy Week devotion, the "pasos". The various wooden groups of precious workmanship, from different parts of Spain, accompanied by the fraternities of the Spanish cities of origin, who greeted the pontiff at the end of the celebration. "In these images - said the pope -faith and art combine so as to penetrate our heart and summon us to conversion. When faith’s gaze is pure and authentic, beauty places itself at its service and is able to depict the mysteries of our salvation in such a way as to move us profoundly and transform our hearts. "

The Way of the Cross also recalled the many sufferings of Christians and young people: the Holy Land, the persecuted of India, Pakistan, Africa, Iraq, the unemployed, the marginalized, addicts, the earthquake victims of Haiti and Japan ... The meditations were prepared by the Sisters of the Cross of Seville, who work among the poor and needy. The Way of the Cross, now a tradition of World Youth Day, is among the most heartfelt events attended by the young people, a gesture that refutes the banal image of "Catholic Woodstock" that has been largely reported in recent days.

Benedict XVI, on behalf of the young people asks the question: " In the face of such disinterested love, we find ourselves asking, filled with wonder and gratitude: What can we do for him?". And immediately the answer: " Christ’s passion urges us to take upon our own shoulders the sufferings of the world, in the certainty that God is not distant or far removed from man and his troubles."

"Dear young people - he adds - may Christ’s love for us increase your joy and encourage you to go in search of those less fortunate. You are open to the idea of sharing your lives with others, so be sure not to pass by on the other side in the face of human suffering, for it is here that God expects you to give of your very best: your capacity for love and compassion. The different forms of suffering that have unfolded before our eyes in the course of this Way of the Cross are the Lord’s way of summoning us to spend our lives following in his footsteps and becoming signs of his consolation and salvation".

"The cross – he continues - was not a sign of failure, but an expression of self-giving in love that extends even to the supreme sacrifice of one’s life. The Father wanted to show his love for us through the embrace of his crucified Son: crucified out of love. The Cross, by its shape and its meaning, represents this love of both the Father and the Son for men. Here we recognize the icon of supreme love, which teaches us to love what God loves and in the way that he loves: this is the Good News that gives hope to the world".

"Let us turn now - he concluded - our eyes to the Virgin Mary, who was given to us on Calvary to be our Mother, and let us ask her to sustain us with her loving protection along the path of life, particularly when we pass through the night of suffering, so that we may be able to remain steadfast, as she did, at the foot of the Cross ."

Ina conclusion, Benedict XVI addressed a prayer to the group of sculptures dedicated to Our Lady of Sorrows, that of María de Regla Santísima of Seville.