Every year young people from the Archdiocese of Paris make a pilgrimage and this year’s journey took them to Lourdes. In a letter that Pope Benedict wrote to the youth, he called on them to imitate the ‘yes’ of Mary because this will lead them to true happiness.
Benedict XVI sent the letter to Cardinal Andre Vingt-Trois and the youth to mark the 100th anniversary of the annual pilgrimage. This year's pilgrimage, which began on April 22 and concluded April 27, is to Lourdes, which is celebrating its 150th anniversary this year.
The generosity of Mary’s response to the angel Gabriel, the Pope began, “led her to experience a joy of which all previous generations had sung".
This “'yes' to God", is what "makes the font of true happiness gush forth” he wrote to the young people.
Saying “yes” to God “frees the 'I' from everything that closes it in on itself. It brings the poverty of our lives into the richness and power of God's plan, without restricting our freedom and our responsibility. ... It conforms our lives to Christ's own life," the Pope added.
The freedom that you will find in God, should lead you to "enthusiastically to celebrate the joy of loving Christ and of believing and hoping in Him, and trustingly to follow the path of initiation you have before you,” Benedict encouraged.
The Holy Father also extended an invitation to the young pilgrims, “I particularly invite you to take up the witness of your ancestors in the faith, and to learn to welcome the Word of God - in silence and meditation - so that it can mould your hearts and produce generous fruits in you".
This pilgrimage, Pope Benedict concludes, "is also a good time to allow yourselves to be asked by Christ: 'What do you want to do with your lives?' May those among you who feel the call to follow Him in the priesthood or in consecrated life - as have so many young participants in these pilgrimages - reply to the Lord's call and put yourselves totally at the service of the Church, with a life completely dedicated to the Kingdom of heaven. You will never be disappointed".