Recalling how twenty-five years ago John Paul II wrote a Letter for young people focusing on Jesus' meeting with the rich young man who asked Him what me had to do to gain eternal life, Benedict XVI said: "Today it is not easy to talk about eternal life and things everlasting because the mentality of our time tells us that nothing definitive exists; everything changes, and changes quickly. In many cases, 'change' has become a watchword, ... and in this way you young people are also led to think that it is impossible to make definitive choices that commit you for life".
However, the Pope asked, "is it true that in order to be happy we have to make do with small and fleeting moments of joy, the which, once over, leave bitterness in our hearts? Dear young people, this is not true freedom, happiness cannot be attained in this way. Each of us was created to make, not provisional and reversible choices, but definitive and irrevocable choices which give full meaning to existence. We see this in our own lives: we would like every beautiful experience which fills us with joy never to end. God created us with a view to the 'forever'. In each of our hearts He placed the seed for a life that creates something great and beautiful".
"In his dialogue with the rich young man, Jesus indicated life's greatest wealth: love. To love God and others with all of ourselves. ... For humans, who are mortal and limited beings, nothing is greater than participating in God's life of love. Today we live in a cultural context that does not favour profound and disinterested human relationships, on the contrary, it often leads us to close in on ourselves, inducing individualism. ... But the hearts of the young are by nature sensitive to true love. Thus, with great trust, I address myself to each of you and say: it is not easy to make something great and beautiful of your lives, it is demanding, but with Christ everything is possible".
"Experience this meeting with Christ's love in a strong personal relationship with Him; experience this in the Church and primarily in the Sacraments", Benedict XVI exhorted the young people. "Christ's love for the young man of the Gospel is the same as that He has for each of you. It is not a love confined to the past, it is not an illusion, it is not reserved for the few. ... May each of you feel yourselves to be a 'living part' of the Church, unafraid, involved in the work of evangelisation ... with your brothers and sisters in the faith, and in communion with pastors, avoiding individualist tendencies even in the life of faith, in order deeply to absorb the beauty of being part of the great mosaic that is the Church of Christ".
The Holy Father gave the example of Blessed Piergiorgio Frassati, the twentieth anniversary of whose beatification falls this month. He "put his Christian formation into practice with great commitment, giving a simple and effective witness of his faith", said the Pope recalling how Blessed Frassati's motto was "live, don't just get by". In this context, he invited his audience "to discover that it is worthwhile committing yourselves for God and with God, responding to His call in all your choices, the fundamental and the mundane, even when there is a price to pay".
"May the Holy Shroud", he concluded, "be an invitation for you to inscribe the face of God's love into your hearts, in order to become, in your own lives and among your peers, a credible expression of the face of Christ".
Source: Vatican Information Sevices (VIS)