In a message for the inaugaration of the 10th International Youth Forum, the Holy Father reminded the 300 young participants from around the globe that "Learning to Love," the theme of the event, is "central in faith and in the Christian life."
The forum, which runs Monday to Friday of this week in Rocca di Papa, Italy, offers sessions on love in several different dimensions, including as a vocation, a life choice, and regarding sexuality.
"As you know," wrote Benedict XVI, "the starting point of each reflection on love is the very mystery of God, since the heart of Christian revelation is this: Deus caritas est (God is love)."
The Pope continued, adding that it is in man's likeness to God that we understand the "profound identity of the person" and "his or her vocation to love.
"Man is made for love; his life is fully realized only if he has lived in love."
Benedict XVI exhorted the youth to "discover their vocation to love" which is "the key of all existence."
The Pope paid particular attention to vocations to the priesthood and to matrimony in his message. Of the priesthood, he wrote that "people consecrated to celibacy are also an eloquent sign of the love of God for the world and of the vocation to love God over all things."
Speaking of the "greatness and beauty" of matrimony, he underscored that "the relation between man and woman reflects divine love in a totally special way; therefore the conjugal bond assumes an immense dignity."
The forum will also include addreses by Archbishop Carlo Caffarra of Bologna, noted Jesuit psychologist Msgr. Tony Anatrella, and French secretary of the Pontifical Council for the Family, Bishop Jean Laffitte.
Married couples from five different continents will also be on hand to offer their perspectives on Christian matrimony.
On Thursday evening, participants will answer the Pope's open invitation to youth to go to St. Peter's Square to celebrate World Youth Day 2010. Then, on Palm Sunday they will be in attendance at Mass presided over by the Pope.
The International Youth Forum is held every three years.