Sunday, September 19, 2010

Pope to Youth: Choose to Love Every Day

Encourages Silence for Real Prayer, Self Discovery

Benedict XVI is urging young people to decide to love every day, conscious of the fact that we were made to love and be loved. The Pope stated this upon addressing the thousands of youth gathered in the plaza outside London's Cathedral of the Most Precious Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ, also known as Westminster Cathedral.

The youth gathered to watch, on outdoor screens, the 10:00 a.m. Mass being celebrated by the Pontiff inside the cathedral. After the Mass, the Holy Father moved outside to greet the young people.

"In these few moments that we are together, I wish to speak to you from my own heart, and I ask you to open your hearts to what I have to say," Benedict XVI said.

He stated: "I ask each of you, first and foremost, to look into your own heart.

"Think of all the love that your heart was made to receive, and all the love it is meant to give. After all, we were made for love."

"Every day we should thank God for the love we have already known," the Pope asserted, "for the love that has made us who we are, the love that has shown us what is truly important in life."

He continued, "We need to thank the Lord for the love we have received from our families, our friends, our teachers, and all those people in our lives who have helped us to realize how precious we are, in their eyes and in the eyes of God."


"We were also made to give love," the Pontiff affirmed, "to make it the inspiration for all we do and the most enduring thing in our lives."

"Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta, the great Missionary of Charity, reminded us that giving love, pure and generous love, is the fruit of a daily decision," he noted.

"Every day we have to choose to love," the Holy Father urged, "and this requires help, the help that comes from Christ, from prayer and from the wisdom found in his word, and from the grace which he bestows on us in the sacraments of his Church."

"I ask you to look into your hearts each day to find the source of all true love," he said. "Jesus is always there, quietly waiting for us to be still with him and to hear his voice."

Benedict XVI said: "Deep within your heart, he is calling you to spend time with him in prayer.

"But this kind of prayer, real prayer, requires discipline; it requires making time for moments of silence every day. Often it means waiting for the Lord to speak."

"Even amid the "busy-ness" and the stress of our daily lives," he acknowledged, "we need to make space for silence, because it is in silence that we find God, and in silence that we discover our true self."

 Courtesy: ZenitNews

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Church Belongs to You, Pope Tells Youth

Warns of What Is Worthless in Life

In an open-air Mass in Bellahouston Park, near Glasgow, His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI addressed the youth gathered. In his address to the youth the Pope is putting youth on guard against what's worthless in life, recommending instead that they learn about their dignity as children of God and live accordingly.

Crowds waving Vatican flags welcomed the Holy Father from Edinburgh, and he stopped the popemobile to kiss a baby girl. A moment of silence recollected the crowd before the Mass got under way.

The German Pontiff arrived today in Scotland, beginning a four-day trip to the United Kingdom that will include an address to representatives of British society, and the beatification of Cardinal John Henry Newman.

The Holy Father's homily touched on themes ranging from ecumenism, to the evangelization of culture, to the need to pray for vocations to the priesthood and consecrated life.

It was this last theme that formed a part of his particular greeting to youth, with which he closed the homily.

"I urge you to lead lives worthy of Our Lord and of yourselves," he told the "dear young Catholics of Scotland."

Glittery but empty

Benedict XVI acknowledged the "many temptations placed before you every day -- drugs, money, sex, pornography, alcohol -- which the world tells you will bring you happiness, yet these things are destructive and divisive."

"There is only one thing which lasts," he affirmed, "the love of Jesus Christ personally for each one of you. Search for him, know him and love him, and he will set you free from slavery to the glittering but superficial existence frequently proposed by today’s society. Put aside what is worthless and learn of your own dignity as children of God."

The Pontiff added that the Gospel for today's Mass, which marked the feast of St. Ninian, patron of Scotland, included Jesus' exhortation to pray for vocations.

"I pray that many of you will know and love Jesus Christ and, through that encounter, will dedicate yourselves completely to God, especially those of you who are called to the priesthood and religious life," Benedict XVI told the young people. "This is the challenge the Lord gives to you today: the Church now belongs to you!"

Shining examples

Earlier, the Holy Father had given a particular message to bishops and priests, also encouraging them in prayer for vocations. He told the bishops to give priority to priests and their sanctification.

"Live to the full the charity that flows from Christ, in your brotherly ministry towards your priests, collaborating with them all, and in particular with those who have little contact with their fellow priests," he said. "Pray with them for vocations, that the Lord of the harvest will send laborers to his harvest."

The Pope asked his brother bishops to be personally engaged in the formation of priests, and to take care as well of deacons.

"Be a father and a guide in holiness for them, encouraging them to grow in knowledge and wisdom in carrying out the mission of herald to which they have been called," he said.

Then turning to priests, he reminded them of their call to holiness and to model their lives on the cross of Christ.

"Preach the Gospel with a pure heart and a clear conscience," he said. "Dedicate yourselves to God alone and you will become shining examples to young men of a holy, simple and joyful life: they, in their turn, will surely wish to join you in your single-minded service of God’s people."

Courtesy: ZenitNews

Friday, September 17, 2010

Enforce Complete Ban on Alcohol: KCYM

Alcohol, the poison that ruins the lives of people should be completely banned in the State and the initiative to implement the ban should be taken by the state government. Various government departments in Kerala, which are bound to give protection for the life and property of the common people seems to be supporting the murders who takes the lives of ordinary people. In the present scenario, it is widely found that the Toddy in sales through the Toddy shops in the state in hundred time higher than that is produced overall.

On various occasions, lakhs and crore liters of Toddy is transported to Kerala with the support of the Excise, Revenue and Police department. The liquor barons and contractors in Kerala, who earn crores by selling pseudo toddy, are protected by the leaders and activists in various political parties after being bribed by the liquor barons.

The state government and the excise department are responsible for the death of ordinary people who died as a result of drinking toddy, which was tested by the excise department for the safety and quality. A peaceful life in Kerala will be possible only if liquor and other objects of intoxication is completely banned.

Urging the resignation of Excise minister taking the responsibility of the toddy tragedy in Malappuram district, Kerala Catholic Youth Movement (KCYM) conducted a protest march to the Ernakulam excise office. The march was inaugurated by KCBC Temperance Commission secretary Fr. Antony T.J. KCYM State President Deepak Cherkkot, ICYM General Secreatry Joice Mary Antony, State Secretary Lijo Payappilly and State Syndicate Member Francis P.V. Addressed the gathering. KCYM State Director Fr. Jaison Kollannur, Asst. Director Sr. Ancy Antony, state secretariat members, youth leaders from different parts of the state and KCYM State syndicate members took part in the protest march.

As a part of KCYM's campaign for the complete ban of liquor and drugs, an excise office march and demonstration will be conducted across the state on 2010, September 18, under the leadership of various Diocese.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Youth Day Participants Urged to Prepare in Prayer

 Madrid Archdiocese Readies for Event

Participants planning to attend the 2011 World Youth Day in Madrid are urged to begin preparing now in prayer, sacramental growth and witnessing to the faith. This was part of the pastoral plan for the Madrid Archdiocese for this year, which will culminate in the youth day next year.

Ángel Matesanz, who is in charge of the youth day's pastoral preparation, pointed out that the objective of the plan is to "strengthen our adherence to Jesus Christ and our commitment to the proclamation of the Gospel."

Metasanz also pointed out the importance of prayer in a missionary ambit: "We must allow ourselves to be seduced by Jesus Christ and become his collaborators."

Gregorio Roldán, secretary general of the event organizing committee, as well as the director of the archdiocese's youth pastoral care, indicated that "this year the objectives of the pastoral plan have a greater projection because of the reception of young people from all over the world during World Youth Day."

"Young people are the principal protagonists," he affirmed.

Roldán said that the August event will give impulse to "the evangelization of society; it will be a testimony in a broken society of a people that is articulated around Jesus Christ."

Prayer and action

The plan's lines of action are summarized in three main areas: to grow in knowledge of Jesus Christ, to foment prayer and participation in the sacraments, and to witness the faith in word and action.

The plan includes distributing quarterly material, such as two guides, one pedagogic and the other methodological, and guidelines for pastoral work.

The plan is inspired in the theme of the youth day: "Planted and Built up in Jesus Christ, Firm in the Faith". This verse from the letter of St. Paul was elaborated on by Benedict XVI in his recently published message for the upcoming World Youth Day.

In his message, the Pope pointed out that "the quality of our meeting will depend above all on our spiritual preparation, our prayer, our common hearing of the word of God and our mutual support."

He encouraged young people to address a personal challenge: "Begin and cultivate a personal dialogue with Jesus Christ, speak with him in prayer, trust him, he will never betray you."

The preparation for Madrid's World Youth Day began in 2008, shortly after the previous one ended in Sydney, Australia.

Courtesy: ZenitNews

Monday, September 13, 2010

Youth Must be Bearers of Faith: Cardinal Varkey Vithayathil

In a function that was held in Ernakulam on Saturday, Cardinal Varkey Vithayathil released the logo of the 2011 World Youth Day. The Cardinal who addressed the gathering urged young people to practice the faith and justice in society.

The Cardinal also released the official logo of the KCYM State Convention which will be held on 2010 November 12, 13 and 14 at Thodupuzha.

“In today’s world moral values are degraded. Youth must be the bearers of faith. Youths have a moral obligation to bring back the youth to the right track by their faith witness,” the Cardinal said. The Catholic youth also have a responsibility practice the faith and justice in society and witnesses to the message of Christ, he added.

The pilgrimage of World Youth Day in Madrid, Spain, next year would inspire the youth to lead “a faithful and committed life in the Church and society,” he said.

The ailing cardinal, who has not been attending public functions for some time, released the logo before a select gathering of youth leaders and officials inside his residence in Kochi.

KCYM state director Fr. Jaison Kollannur delivered the introductory speech in the meeting which was presided by Deepak Cherkott, KCYM state president.

World youth Day coordinator Jomon Vellappally, Indian Catholic Youth Movement (ICYM) General Secretary Joice Mary Antony, ICYM representative Godfrey Henry, former state President Thomson Chiriyankandath, KCYM Assistant Director Sister Ancy Antony and state vice president Anitha Andrew and other state office bearers were present at the function.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Pontiff Offers Youth a Counter-Current Invitation

Reflects on His Message for World Youth Day 

Benedict XVI says his message for the 2011 World Youth Day offers youth a counter-current proposal, since rootedness and strength are values that have been rejected in favor of uncertainty and mobility. 

The Pope made this reflection today when he offered a commentary on his message for World Youth Day '11. The message was dated Aug. 6 and released Friday. 

Before taking up the topic of the WYD statement, the Holy Father told the crowds gathered in Castel Gandolfo for the midday Angelus that he was sorry for arriving late. He had just returned from a pastoral visit to Carpineto Romano, the birthplace of Pope Leo XIII. 

Turning to the theme of the message -- "Planted and built up in Jesus Christ, firm in the faith" -- he said that he chose a proposal that is "resolutely counter-current." 

"Indeed," the Pontiff observed, "who today proposes to young people to be 'planted' and 'firm'? Rather, uncertainty, mobility, volubility are exalted … all aspects that reflect a culture that is indecisive in regard to basic values, principles on the basis of which one’s life is oriented and regulated." 

But Benedict XVI affirmed his own experience proves that "every individual person is newly called to follow the path of discovering the meaning of life." 

In the context, then, of the biblical images of the tree and the house, he proposed that a young person "is like a tree that is growing: To develop well, he needs deep roots that -- when there comes a storm with strong winds -- keep him firmly planted in the soil." 

The heart of the message is here, the Pope said. "The full maturity of the person, his interior stability, has its basis in relation to God, a relation that passes through the encounter with Jesus Christ. A relationship of deep trust, of authentic friendship with Jesus is able to give to a young person what he needs to deal well with life: serenity and interior light, a capacity to think positively, generosity of soul toward others, availability to give oneself for the good, justice and truth.” 

And this faith doesn't occur in isolation, the Holy Father clarified. "If no man is an island, much less is a Christian, who in the Church discovers the beauty of faith shared and witnessed together with others in fraternity and the service of charity." 

The Pontiff concluded by entrusting to Our Lady the path of preparation for World Youth Day 2011, to be held in Madrid next August. 

Courtesy: ZenitNews

Saturday, September 4, 2010

"We Too Want to Be Able to See Jesus" – His Holiness Benedict XVI

World Youth Day Madrid 2011

"Planted and built up in Jesus Christ, firm in the faith" (Col 2:7)

On the auspicious of the Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord, His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI’s message for the world youth day celebrations to be held in Madrid, Spain was released. In the message, the Pope writes: “I often think back on the World Youth Day held in Sydney in 2008. There we had an experience of a great festival of faith in which the Spirit of God was actively at work, building deep communion among the participants who had come from all over the world. That gathering, like those on previous occasions, bore rich fruit in the lives of many young people and in the life of the whole Church. Now we are looking forward to the next World Youth Day, to be held in Madrid in August 2011. Back in 1989, several months before the historic fall of the Berlin Wall, this pilgrimage of young people halted in Spain, in Santiago de Compostela.”

He continued, “Now, at a time when Europe greatly needs to rediscover its Christian roots, our meeting will take place in Madrid with the theme: "Planted and built up in Jesus Christ, firm in the faith" (cf. Col 2:7). I encourage you to take part in this event, which is so important for the Church in Europe and for the universal Church. I would like all young people - those who share our faith in Jesus Christ, but also those who are wavering or uncertain, or who do not believe in him - to share this experience, which can prove decisive for their lives. It is an experience of the Lord Jesus, risen and alive, and of his love for each of us.” 

1. At the Source of Your Deepest Aspirations

In every period of history, including our own, many young people experience a deep desire for personal relationships marked by truth and solidarity. Many of them yearn to build authentic friendships, to know true love, to start a family that will remain united, to achieve personal fulfilment and real security, all of which are the guarantee of a serene and happy future. In thinking of my own youth, I realize that stability and security are not the questions that most occupy the minds of young people. True enough, it is important to have a job and thus to have firm ground beneath our feet, yet the years of our youth are also a time when we are seeking to get the most out of life. When I think back on that time, I remember above all that we were not willing to settle for a conventional middle-class life. We wanted something great, something new. We wanted to discover life itself, in all its grandeur and beauty. Naturally, part of that was due to the times we lived in. During the Nazi dictatorship and the war, we were, so to speak, "hemmed in" by the dominant power structure. So we wanted to break out into the open, to experience the whole range of human possibilities. I think that, to some extent, this urge to break out of the ordinary is present in every generation. Part of being young is desiring something beyond everyday life and a secure job, a yearning for something really truly greater. Is this simply an empty dream that fades away as we become older? No! Men and women were created for something great, for infinity. Nothing else will ever be enough. Saint Augustine was right when he said "our hearts are restless till they find their rest in you".

The desire for a more meaningful life is a sign that God created us and that we bear his "imprint". God is life, and that is why every creature reaches out towards life. Because human beings are made in the image of God, we do this in a unique and special way. We reach out for love, joy and peace. So we can see how absurd it is to think that we can truly live by removing God from the picture! God is the source of life. To set God aside is to separate ourselves from that source and, inevitably, to deprive ourselves of fulfilment and joy: "without the Creator, the creature fades into nothingness" (Second Vatican Council, Gaudium et Spes, 36). In some parts of the world, particularly in the West, today's culture tends to exclude God, and to consider faith a purely private issue with no relevance for the life of society. Even though the set of values underpinning society comes from the Gospel - values like the sense of the dignity of the person, of solidarity, of work and of the family -, we see a certain "eclipse of God" taking place, a kind of amnesia which, albeit not an outright rejection of Christianity, is nonetheless a denial of the treasure of our faith, a denial that could lead to the loss of our deepest identity. 

For this reason, dear friends, I encourage you to strengthen your faith in God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. You are the future of society and of the Church! As the Apostle Paul wrote to the Christians of Colossae, it is vital to have roots, a solid foundation! This is particularly true today. Many people have no stable points of reference on which to build their lives, and so they end up deeply insecure. There is a growing mentality of relativism, which holds that everything is equally valid, that truth and absolute points of reference do not exist. But this way of thinking does not lead to true freedom, but rather to instability, confusion and blind conformity to the fads of the moment. As young people, you are entitled to receive from previous generations solid points of reference to help you to make choices and on which to build your lives: like a young plant which needs solid support until it can sink deep roots and become a sturdy tree capable of bearing fruit. 

2. Planted and Built up in Jesus Christ 

In order to highlight the importance of faith in the lives of believers, I would like to reflect with you on each of the three terms used by Saint Paul in the expression: "Planted and built up in Jesus Christ, firm in the faith" We can distinguish three images: "planted" calls to mind a tree and the roots that feed it; "built up" refers to the construction of a house; "firm" indicates growth in physical or moral strength. These images are very eloquent. Before commenting on them, I would like to point out that grammatically all three terms in the original text are in the passive voice. This means that it is Christ himself who takes the initiative to plant, build up and confirm the faithful. 

The first image is that of a tree which is firmly planted thanks to its roots, which keep it upright and give it nourishment. Without those roots, it would be blown away by the wind and would die. What are our roots? Naturally our parents, our families and the culture of our country are very important elements of our personal identity. But the Bible reveals a further element. The prophet Jeremiah wrote: "Blessed are those who trust in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord. They shall be like a tree planted by water, sending out its roots by the stream. It shall not fear when heat comes, and its leaves shall stay green; in the year of drought it is not anxious, and it does not cease to bear fruit" (Jer 17:7-8). For the prophet, to send out roots means to put one's trust in God. From him we draw our life. Without him, we cannot truly live. "God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son" (1 Jn 5:11). Jesus himself tells us that he is our life. Consequently, Christian faith is not only a matter of believing that certain things are true, but above all a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. It is an encounter with the Son of God that gives new energy to the whole of our existence. When we enter into a personal relationship with him, Christ reveals our true identity and, in friendship with him, our life grows towards complete fulfilment. There is a moment, when we are young, when each of us wonders: what meaning does my life have? What purpose and direction should I give to it? This is a very important moment, and it can worry us, perhaps for some time. We start wondering about the kind of work we should take up, the kind of relationships we should establish, the friendships we should cultivate.

Here, once more, I think of my own youth. I was somehow aware quite early on that the Lord wanted me to be a priest. Then later, after the war, when I was in the seminary and at university on the way towards that goal, I had to recapture that certainty. I had to ask myself: is this really the path I was meant to take? Is this really God's will for me? Will I be able to remain faithful to him and completely at his service? A decision like this demands a certain struggle. It cannot be otherwise. But then came the certainty: this is the right thing! Yes, the Lord wants me, and he will give me strength. If I listen to him and walk with him, I become truly myself. What counts is not the fulfilment of my desires, but of his will. In this way life becomes authentic. 

Just as the roots of a tree keep it firmly planted in the soil, so the foundations of a house give it long-lasting stability. Through faith, we have been built up in Jesus Christ (cfr Col 2:7), even as a house is built on its foundations. Sacred history provides many examples of saints who built their lives on the word of God. The first is Abraham, our father in faith, who obeyed God when he was asked to leave his ancestral home and to set out for an unknown land. "Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness, and he was called the friend of God" (Jas 2:23). Being built up in Jesus Christ means responding positively to God's call, trusting in him and putting his word into practice. Jesus himself reprimanded his disciples: "Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord', and do not do what I tell you?" (Lk 6:46). He went on to use the image of building a house: "I will show you what someone is like who comes to me, listens to my words, and acts on them. That one is like a person building a house, who dug deeply and laid the foundation on rock; when the flood came, the river burst against that house but could not shake it because it had been well built" (Lk 6:47-48). 

Dear friends, build your own house on rock, just like the person who "dug deeply". Try each day to follow Christ's word. Listen to him as a true friend with whom you can share your path in life. With him at your side, you will find courage and hope to face difficulties and problems, and even to overcome disappointments and set-backs. You are constantly being offered easier choices, but you yourselves know that these are ultimately deceptive and cannot bring you serenity and joy. Only the word of God can show us the authentic way, and only the faith we have received is the light which shines on our path. Gratefully accept this spiritual gift which you have received from your families; strive to respond responsibly to God's call, and to grow in your faith. Do not believe those who tell you that you don't need others to build up your life! Find support in the faith of those who are dear to you, in the faith of the Church, and thank the Lord that you have received it and have made it your own! 
WYD 2011 Emblem

3. Firm in the Faith

You are "planted and built up in Jesus Christ, firm in the faith" (cf. Col 2:7). The Letter from which these words are taken was written by Saint Paul in order to respond to a specific need of the Christians in the city of Colossae. That community was threatened by the influence of certain cultural trends that were turning the faithful away from the Gospel. Our own cultural context, dear young people, is not unlike that of the ancient Colossians. Indeed, there is a strong current of secularist thought that aims to make God marginal in the lives of people and society by proposing and attempting to create a "paradise" without him. Yet experience tells us that a world without God becomes a "hell": filled with selfishness, broken families, hatred between individuals and nations, and a great deficit of love, joy and hope. On the other hand, wherever individuals and nations accept God's presence, worship him in truth and listen to his voice, then the civilization of love is being built, a civilization in which the dignity of all is respected, and communion increases, with all its benefits. Yet some Christians allow themselves to be seduced by secularism or attracted by religious currents that draw them away from faith in Jesus Christ. There are others who, while not yielding to these enticements, have simply allowed their faith to grow cold, with inevitable negative effects on their moral lives.

To those Christians influenced by ideas alien to the Gospel the Apostle Paul spoke of the power of Christ's death and resurrection. This mystery is the foundation of our lives and the centre of Christian faith. All philosophies that disregard it and consider it "foolishness" (1 Cor 1:23) reveal their limitations with respect to the great questions deep in the hearts of human beings. As the Successor of the Apostle Peter, I too want to confirm you in the faith (cf. Lk 22:32). We firmly believe that Jesus Christ offered himself on the Cross in order to give us his love. In his passion, he bore our sufferings, took upon himself our sins, obtained forgiveness for us and reconciled us with God the Father, opening for us the way to eternal life. Thus we were freed from the thing that most encumbers our lives: the slavery of sin. We can love everyone, even our enemies, and we can share this love with the poorest of our brothers and sisters and all those in difficulty.

Dear friends, the Cross often frightens us because it seems to be a denial of life. In fact, the opposite is true! It is God's "yes" to mankind, the supreme expression of his love and the source from which eternal life flows. Indeed, it is from Jesus' heart, pierced on the Cross, that this divine life streamed forth, ever accessible to those who raise their eyes towards the Crucified One. I can only urge you, then, to embrace the Cross of Jesus, the sign of God's love, as the source of new life. Apart from Jesus Christ risen from the dead, there can be no salvation! He alone can free the world from evil and bring about the growth of the Kingdom of justice, peace and love to which we all aspire. 

4.Believing in Jesus Christ Without Having Seen Him

In the Gospel we find a description of the Apostle Thomas's experience of faith when he accepted the mystery of the Cross and resurrection of Christ. Thomas was one of the twelve Apostles. He followed Jesus and was an eyewitness of his healings and miracles. He listened to his words, and he experienced dismay at Jesus' death. That Easter evening when the Lord appeared to the disciples, Thomas was not present. When he was told that Jesus was alive and had shown himself, Thomas stated: "Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands, and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe" (Jn 20:25).

We too want to be able to see Jesus, to speak with him and to feel his presence even more powerfully. For many people today, it has become difficult to approach Jesus. There are so many images of Jesus in circulation which, while claiming to be scientific, detract from his greatness and the uniqueness of his person. That is why, after many years of study and reflection, I thought of sharing something of my own personal encounter with Jesus by writing a book. It was a way to help others see, hear and touch the Lord in whom God came to us in order to make himself known. Jesus himself, when he appeared again to his disciples a week later, said to Thomas: "Put your finger here and see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it in my side. Do not doubt but believe" (Jn 20:27). We too can have tangible contact with Jesus and put our hand, so to speak, upon the signs of his Passion, the signs of his love. It is in the sacraments that he draws particularly near to us and gives himself to us. Dear young people, learn to "see" and to "meet" Jesus in the Eucharist, where he is present and close to us, and even becomes food for our journey. In the sacrament of Penance the Lord reveals his mercy and always grants us his forgiveness. Recognize and serve Jesus in the poor, the sick, and in our brothers and sisters who are in difficulty and in need of help.

Enter into a personal dialogue with Jesus Christ and cultivate it in faith. Get to know him better by reading the Gospels and the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Converse with him in prayer, and place your trust in him. He will never betray that trust! "Faith is first of all a personal adherence of man to God. At the same time, and inseparably, it is a free assent to the whole truth that God has revealed" (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 150). Thus you will acquire a mature and solid faith, one which will not be based simply on religious sentiment or on a vague memory of the catechism you studied as a child. You will come to know God and to live authentically in union with him, like the Apostle Thomas who showed his firm faith in Jesus in the words: "My Lord and my God!". 

5. Sustained by the Faith of the Church, in Order to be Witnesses

Jesus said to Thomas: "Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe" (Jn 20:29). He was thinking of the path the Church was to follow, based on the faith of eyewitnesses: the Apostles. Thus we come to see that our personal faith in Christ, which comes into being through dialogue with him, is bound to the faith of the Church. We do not believe as isolated individuals, but rather, through Baptism, we are members of this great family; it is the faith professed by the Church which reinforces our personal faith. The Creed that we proclaim at Sunday Mass protects us from the danger of believing in a God other than the one revealed by Christ: "Each believer is thus a link in the great chain of believers. I cannot believe without being carried by the faith of others, and by my faith I help support others in the faith" (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 166). Let us always thank the Lord for the gift of the Church, for the Church helps us to advance securely in the faith that gives us true life (cf. Jn 20:31).

In the history of the Church, the saints and the martyrs have always drawn from the glorious Cross of Christ the strength to be faithful to God even to the point of offering their own lives. In faith they found the strength to overcome their weaknesses and to prevail over every adversity. Indeed, as the Apostle John says, "Who is it that conquers the world but the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?" (1 Jn 5:5). The victory born of faith is that of love. There have been, and still are, many Christians who are living witnesses of the power of faith that is expressed in charity. They have been peacemakers, promoters of justice and workers for a more humane world, a world in accordance with God's plan. With competence and professionalism, they have been committed in different sectors of the life of society, contributing effectively to the welfare of all. The charity that comes from faith led them to offer concrete witness by their actions and words. Christ is not a treasure meant for us alone; he is the most precious treasure we have, one that is meant to be shared with others. In our age of globalization, be witnesses of Christian hope all over the world. How many people long to receive this hope! Standing before the tomb of his friend Lazarus, who had died four days earlier, as he was about to call the dead man back to life, Jesus said to Lazarus' sister Martha: "If you believe, you will see the glory of God" (cf. Jn 11:40). In the same way, if you believe, and if you are able to live out your faith and bear witness to it every day, you will become a means of helping other young people like yourselves to find the meaning and joy of life, which is born of an encounter with Christ! 
WYD 2011 Cross

6.On the way to World Youth Day in Madrid 

Dear friends, once again I invite you to attend World Youth Day in Madrid. I await each of you with great joy. Jesus Christ wishes to make you firm in faith through the Church. The decision to believe in Jesus Christ and to follow him is not an easy one. It is hindered by our personal failures and by the many voices that point us towards easier paths. Do not be discouraged. Rather, look for the support of the Christian community, the support of the Church! Throughout this year, carefully prepare for the meeting in Madrid with the bishops, priests and youth leaders in your dioceses, parish communities, associations and movements. The quality of our meeting will depend above all on our spiritual preparation, our prayer, our common hearing of the word of God and our mutual support. 

Dear young people, the Church depends on you! She needs your lively faith, your creative charity and the energy of your hope. Your presence renews, rejuvenates and gives new energy to the Church. That is why World Youth Days are a grace, not only for you, but for the entire People of God. The Church in Spain is actively preparing to welcome you and to share this joyful experience of faith with you. I thank the dioceses, parishes, shrines, religious communities, ecclesial associations and movements, and all who are hard at work in preparing for this event. The Lord will not fail to grant them his blessings. May the Virgin Mary accompany you along this path of preparation. At the message of the angel, she received God's word with faith. It was in faith that she consented to what God was accomplishing in her. By proclaiming her "fiat", her "yes", she received the gift of immense charity which led her to give herself entirely to God. May she intercede for each one of you so that, in the coming World Youth Day you may grow in faith and love. I assure you of a paternal remembrance in my prayers and I give you my heartfelt blessing.

Courtesy: VISNews

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Pontiff Tells Youth of Greatest Happiness

Indicates a "Beautiful," "Worthwhile" Mission

Christ is the one who gives the strength to take on causes that dignify man and make great peoples, Benedict XVI today told young people, affirming to them that it is worthwhile to give oneself to such a mission.

The Pope made this call to youth at the end of the general audience in Castel Gandolfo. In his Spanish-language greetings, he noted the Third Latin American Congress of Young People, to be held in Venezuela starting Sunday.

The meeting, organized by the Youth Section of the Latin American bishops' council, has the motto: "Let Us Walk With Jesus to Give Life to Our Peoples."

"I invite all those present in that significant initiative to look at Jesus Christ, Son of the living God," the Holy Father said. "With his grace, you will find the strength that impels one to be committed to causes that dignify man and make peoples great."

"The Pontiff noted his wish that the event will help the young participants to "personally encounter the Lord and to hear his Word."

He continued: "You will not be disappointed, as he has plans of love and salvation for everyone. The Pope is by your side and reiterates his confidence in you, while at the same time asking God to assist you so that, being authentic disciples of Jesus Christ, you may live the values of the Gospel, transmit them with courage to those around you and so that you will be inspired in them to build a more just and reconciled world. It is worthwhile to give oneself to this beautiful mission."

The Pontiff concluded by entrusting the youth to Our Lady, asking her to "accompany you on your journey and always remind you that there is no greater happiness than that of being Christ's friend."

Courtesy: Zenit News