Saturday, April 19, 2008

The Pope and Youth!

Pope Benedict reminds young people that "The hope that never disappoints is Jesus Christ!" And he adds that "Christ is your friend and he wants to have a relationship with each of you!" The Holy Father speaks beautifully to young people today at St. Joseph's Seminary in Yonkers, NY! He challenges the young to respond to the grace of God. He puts a focus on vocations! Some of the highlights:

Personal prayer and silence
What matters most is that you develop your personal relationship with God. That relationship is expressed in prayer....Friends, do not be afraid of silence or stillness, listen to God, adore him in the Eucharist. Let his word shape your journey as an unfolding of holiness.

Liturgical prayer

Whenever you gather for Mass, when you go to Confession, whenever you celebrate any of the sacraments, Jesus is at work....Your faithful participation, is an active hope which helps to keep the world - saints and sinners alike - open to God; this is the truly human hope we offer everyone.

Charity in action
Contemplating Jesus on the Cross we see love in its most radical form. We can begin to imagine the path of love along which we must move. The opportunities to make this journey are abundant. Look about you with Christ's eyes, listen with his ears, feel and think with his heart and mind. Are you ready to give all as he did for truth and justice?

Let us pray for mothers and fathers throughout the world, particularly those who may be struggling in any way - socially, materially, spiritually. Let us honor the vocation of matrimony and the dignity of family life. Let us always appreciate that it is in families that vocations are given life. He adds: I greet the seminarians present and indeed encourage all seminarians throughout America. I am glad to know that your numbers are increasing! The People of God look to you to be holy priests, on a daily journey of conversion, inspiring in others the desire to enter more deeply into the ecclesial life of believers. I urge you to deepen your friendship with Jesus the Good Shepherd. Talk heart to heart with him. Reject any temptation to ostentation, careerism, or conceit. Strive for a pattern of life truly marked by charity, chastity and humility, in imitation of Christ, the Eternal High Priest, of whom you are to become living icons. Dear seminarians, I pray for you daily. Remember that what counts before the Lord is to dwell in his love and to make his love shine forth for others.

To Religious he adds:
Religious Sisters, Brothers and Priests contribute greatly to the mission of the Church. Their prophetic witness is marked by a profound conviction of the primacy with which the Gospel shapes Christian life and transforms society. Today, I wish to draw your attention to the positive spiritual renewal which Congregations are undertaking in relation to their charism. The word charism means a gift freely and graciously given. Charisms are bestowed by the Holy Spirit, who inspires founders and foundresses, and shapes Congregations with a subsequent spiritual heritage. The wondrous array of charisms proper to each Religious Institute is an extraordinary spiritual treasury. Indeed, the history of the Church is perhaps most beautifully portrayed through the history of her schools of spirituality, most of which stem from the saintly lives of founders and foundresses. Through the discovery of charisms, which yield such a breadth of spiritual wisdom, I am sure that some of you young people will be drawn to a life of apostolic or contemplative service. Do not be shy to speak with Religious Brothers, Sisters or Priests about the charism and spirituality of their Congregation. No perfect community exists, but it is fidelity to a founding charism, not to particular individuals, that the Lord calls you to discern. Have courage! You too can make your life a gift of self for the love of the Lord Jesus and, in him, of every member of the human family

Colleen Carol Campbell writes a very good article about the Pope and young people that is very well done! Colleen's article here.

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