08/20/2011, 00.00
Send to a friend

Pope launches new evangelization among young people at World Youth Day vigil

At a vigil rendered difficult by a storm, Benedict XVI urges young people to be witnesses of the Truth in a relativistic culture, to be "beacons of freedom, reconciliation and peace for the whole world." Because of the storm the pope has had to interrupt his homily. Young people happy in the rain, but in silence, and kneeling before the Eucharist.
Madrid (AsiaNews) - In Cuatro Vientos airport, filled with over two million young people from all over the world, Benedict XVI has launched a real program of evangelization of the world and especially the secularized world, that is drowning in relativism and the absurd .

To the young people who participated in the WYD vigil, he proposed a commitment for today’s world: " Nowadays, although the dominant culture of relativism all around us has given up on the search for truth, even if it is the highest aspiration of the human spirit, we need to speak with courage and humility of the universal significance of Christ as the Saviour of humanity and the source of hope for our lives".

The vigil, however, encountered some difficult times, when at the beginning of the pope's speech a thunderstorm broke out accompanied by a strong wind. The young people erupted in celebration, shouting and cheering, many had been on the esplanade for hours, with temperatures touching 40 degrees!

The pope was protected by umbrellas, but the happy youth shouted in Spanish: "This is the youth of the Pope." After about 20 minutes, the Pope resumed his speech, thanking them for "strength and joy", but he cut his meditation short and went straight to his greetings in different languages.

His homily was made available later for people to read during the night (and which we quote at the bottom of this article).

But even in his greetings, he urged them to be "proud of the faith", to be silent in front of the Eucharist, to become "a beacon of freedom, reconciliation and peace for the whole world".

"Guard – he said - the flame which God has lit in your hearts tonight. Never let it go out, renew it each day, share it with your contemporaries who live in darkness and who are seeking a light for their way."

The vigil continued with Eucharistic adoration. The Blessed Sacrament was placed in an old and shining monstrance of the fifteenth century, from Toledo and Benedict XVI in liturgical vestments, prayed before it for a period of some length. In the esplanade all two million young people were kneeling on the ground and in silence. Soon after the pope read a prayer to consecrate all the young people of WYD to the Sacred heart of Jesus

Before going to the nunciature, Benedict XVI thanked the youth for having "withstood the rain" and wished them good night, and that he waited for them all at mass the following morning. "Remember - he added - that you will face many difficulties in the faith," but he also said "you are stronger than the rain."

Here's the homily that the pope should have read at the vigil:

Dear Young Friends,

I greet all of you, especially the young people who have asked me their questions, and I thank them for the sincerity with which they set forth their concerns, that express the longing which all of you have to achieve something great in life, something which can bring you fulfilment and happiness.

How can a young person be true to the faith and yet continue to aspire to high ideals in today’s society? In the Gospel we have just heard, Jesus gives us an answer to this urgent question: “As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love” (Jn 15:9).

Yes, dear friends, God loves us. This is the great truth of our life; it is what makes everything else meaningful. We are not the product of blind chance or absurdity; instead our life originates as part of a loving plan of God. To abide in his love, then, means living a life rooted in faith, since faith is more than the mere acceptance of certain abstract truths: it is an intimate relationship with Christ, who enables us to open our hearts to this mystery of love and to live as men and women conscious of being loved by God.

If you abide in the love of Christ, rooted in the faith, you will encounter, even amid setbacks and suffering, the source of true happiness and joy. Faith does not run counter to your highest ideals; on the contrary, it elevates and perfects those ideals. Dear young people, do not be satisfied with anything less than Truth and Love, do not be content with anything less than Christ.

Nowadays, although the dominant culture of relativism all around us has given up on the search for truth, even if it is the highest aspiration of the human spirit, we need to speak with courage and humility of the universal significance of Christ as the Saviour of humanity and the source of hope for our lives. He who took upon himself our afflictions, is well acquainted with the mystery of human suffering and manifests his loving presence in those who suffer. They in their turn, united to the passion of Christ, share closely in his work of redemption. Furthermore, our disinterested attention towards the sick and the forgotten will always be a humble and warm testimony of God’s compassionate regard.

Dear friends, may no adversity paralyze you. Be afraid neither of the world, nor of the future, nor of your weakness. The Lord has allowed you to live in this moment of history so that, by your faith, his name will continue to resound throughout the world.

During this prayer vigil, I urge you to ask God to help you find your vocation in society and in the Church, and to persevere in that vocation with joy and fidelity. It is a good thing to open our hearts to Christ’s call and to follow with courage and generosity the path he maps out for us.

The Lord calls many people to marriage, in which a man and a woman, in becoming one flesh (cf. Gen 2:24), find fulfilment in a profound life of communion. It is a prospect that is both bright and demanding. It is a project for true love which is daily renewed and deepened by sharing joys and sorrows, one marked by complete self-giving. For this reason, to acknowledge the beauty and goodness of marriage is to realize that only a setting of fidelity and indissolubility, along with openness to God’s gift of life, is adequate to the grandeur and dignity of marital love.

Christ calls others to follow him more closely in the priesthood or in consecrated life. It is hard to put into words the happiness you feel when you know that Jesus seeks you, trusts in you, and with his unmistakable voice also says to you: “Follow me!” (cf. Mk 2:14).

Dear young people, if you wish to discover and to live faithfully the form of life to which the Lord is calling each of you, you must remain in his love as his friends. And how do we preserve friendship except through frequent contact, conversation, being together in good times and bad? Saint Teresa of Jesus used to say that prayer is just such “friendly contact, often spending time alone with the one who we know loves us” (cf. Autobiography, 8).

And so I now ask you to “abide” in the adoration of Christ, truly present in the Eucharist. I ask you to enter into conversation with him, to bring before him your questions and to listen to his voice. Dear friends, I pray for you with all my heart. And I ask you to pray for me. Tonight let us ask the Lord to grant that, attracted by the beauty of his love, we may always live faithfully as his disciples. Amen.

Send to a friend
Printable version
See also
Pope: Share with others the joy that we have received
Pope: Madrid, capital of the world's youth
Pope: I have come here to meet the young people committed to Christ searching for the truth
The grand Vigil of Cologne: feasting, prayer, adoration
WYD, a "privileged path" for vocation to the priesthood
02/08/2016 13:07


Subscribe to Asia News updates or change your preferences

Subscribe now
“L’Asia: ecco il nostro comune compito per il terzo millennio!” - Giovanni Paolo II, da “Alzatevi, andiamo”