Monday, October 4, 2010

Young People And Families, A Sign Of Hope – Pope Benedict

During the last event of his pastoral visit to Palermo, the Pope met with thousands of young people gathered in the city's Piazza Politeama, to whom he spoke about Chiara Badano, beatified in Rome on 25 September.

Recalling how the blessed died young of an incurable disease, he said: "Nineteen years full of life, of love, of faith. Two years, the last two, also full of suffering but always in love and light, a light she irradiated around her and that came from within, from her heart full of God".

After then highlighting how her parents "lit the flame of faith in their daughter's heart, and helped Chiara keep it alight even in the difficult moments as she was growing up and especially in the long trial of suffering", Benedict XVI noted how "the relationship between parents and children is the torch of faith that is transmitted from generation to generation".

"The family", he went on, "is fundamental because it is here that the first perception of the meaning of life germinates in the human heart. It germinates in the relationship with the mother and father, who are responsible for their children's life but also the first collaborators of God in transmitting the life of faith".

In Sicily too "there are splendid testimonies of young people who [germinate and] grow like beautiful lush plants", said the Holy Father. "Do not to be afraid to contrast evil", he told his audience. "Do not give in to the lure of the mafia, which is the path of death, incompatible with the Gospel, as many of your bishops have said".

Referring then to the theme of the next World Youth Day - "Planted and built up in Jesus Christ, firm in the faith" - the Pope said: "The image of the tree tells us that each of us needs a fertile soil in which to sink our roots, a terrain rich in nutritional substances which make the person grow". These substances "are values, but above all they are love and faith, knowledge of the true face of God and awareness that He loves us infinitely, faithfully, patiently, to the point of giving His life for us.

"In this context", he added, "the family is like a 'little Church', because it transmits God, it transmits the love of Christ by virtue of the Sacrament of Marriage. ... And the family, in order to be a 'little Church', must be well inserted into the 'great Church'; in other words, into the family that Christ came to create".

In closing Benedict XVI referred to the difficulties the people of Sicily have to face. "Where there are young people and families who chose the way of the Gospel, there is hope", he said. "And you are a sign of hope, not only for Sicily but for all Italy.

"I have brought you a witness of sanctity and you have offered me yours: the faces of so many young people of this land who have loved Christ with evangelical radicality. The greatest gift we have received is to be a Church, to be in Christ a sign and instrument of unity, peace and freedom. No-one can take this joy from us. No-one can take this power! Courage, dear young people and families of Sicily! Be saints!"

During his journey by car from Palermo to the city's Falcone e Borsellino airport at Punta Raisi, the Pope paused at Capeci, where an attack in 1992 cost the lives of Judge Giovanni Falcone and his police escort. The Pope descended from his car and placed a bunch of flowers at one of the memorial plaques, then prayed in silence for all the victims of the mafia and of organised crime. He then returned to his car and continued his journey to the airport.

Courtesy: VIS

No comments:

Post a Comment