.- Archbishop-designate of Philadelphia Charles J. Chaput told thousands of young people gathered in Madrid for World Youth Day that an authentic relationship with Christ isn't based purely on emotions.
“Ultimately, it will not be how you feel that will determine how genuine and profound your encounter with Jesus is,” he told pilgrims.
“Instead, it will be determined by how much you are transformed into Him and how much you burn in the desire to bring Him to others, by announcing the Gospel, by serving the poor and the needy, by defending the unborn, by securing a culture that is not hostile to the growth of Christian families,” he said.
Archbishop Chaput made his remarks to English-speaking youths at the Madrid Arena – which seats 12,000 people – on Aug. 17 for the “Noche de Alegría” or “Night of Joy.”
The French lay movement the Emmanuel Community organized the evening's events, which included prayer, worship, music and Eucharistic Adoration.
If “you want to know how mighty the transforming power of Jesus is, how much He is capable of changing your lives, do not focus too much on how intensely you feel tonight,” Archbishop Chaput told the massive crowd.
“If He gives you a profound, moving experience, praised be to Him! If you don’t experience that emotion, if you don’t feel shivers running under your spine, praised be to Him too!”
The archbishop pointed to the examples of Saint Teresa of Avila and Blessed Teresa of Calcutta who both illustrate “how the transformative power of Jesus operates in our lives.”
“St. Teresa of Avila experienced 30 uninterrupted years of dry, frustrating prayer life,” he said. “Nevertheless, her fidelity to Jesus’ calling, and her fervent dedication to reform the Carmelites were always intense and unstoppable.”
Blessed Teresa of Calcutta, “as we learned after her death, went through a long, terribly painful period of total lack of spiritual consolations,” the archbishop added. “She nevertheless achieved one of the most impressive Catholic congregations, dedicated to serve the poorest among the poor.”
Archbishop Chaput said the “Noche de Alegria” must be centered on “He who is the reason for this event: the Holy Eucharist, Jesus in his real presence.”
“In this way, this 'Night of Joy' will truly become an anticipation of what our lives should be.”
Everything from “the testimonies from around the world, which you have heard, to music and praising – everything must revolve around and prepare us for the Eucharistic adoration.”
“But,” he added, “receiving the Eucharist has consequences. Adoring Jesus in the Holy Sacrament, as we are preparing ourselves to do, has consequences” and requires action on the part of the faithful.
Archbishop Chaput pointed to the passage from the Gospel of Luke where Christ's disciples journey with him on the road to Emmaus after his death and resurrection.
After Christ shares the Scriptures with the disciples and breaks bread with them – a foreshadowing of the Mass, Archbishop Chaput explained – their eyes are opened to see who he really is.
“No doubt, the joy and peace experienced by the disciples after recognizing Jesus must have been indescribable,” he said.
“But as deep, intense and personal as it was,” the archbishop concluded, “it did not paralyze them in individualistic satisfaction.
“On the contrary, it moved them to run back to their peers to bring the Good News to them.”
“Brightened by the internal light that comes from personally experiencing Jesus, they were immediately moved to share the power of Jesus’ redemption with the rest of the world.”