The Holy Father sent a message on May 22 for the 97th "Deutscher Katholikentag," a celebration organized by the Catholic laity in Germany. This year’s event, held in the German city of Osnabruck, focused on the theme, “He brought me out into a broad place.”
In his message for the event attended by nearly 50,000 people, the Pope addressed this theme by writing that many people fear “that the faith may limit their lives, that they may be constrained in the web of the Church's commandments and teachings, and that they will no longer be free to move in the 'broad space' of modern life and thought."
However, "only when our lives have reached the heart of God will they have found that 'broad space' for which we were created. A life without God does not become freer and broader," he explained.
Benedict continued by explaining that our lives can become freer by opening our hearts to God. In doing so, “one does not need to seek happiness and success or give weight to the opinions of others." He is "free and generous, open to the call of God" and "can give all of himself faithfully because he knows - wherever he goes - that he is safe in God's hands."
"We trust that the meeting with God, in His word and in the celebration of the Eucharist, may open our hearts and transform us into gushing fonts of faith for others."
The Holy Father exhorted the faithful to participate in the political and social life of their respective countries, using the Gospel as a guide. Instead of allowing the future to be molded by others, Pope Benedict challenged lay Catholics to “dare to participate in creating the future, in unison with priests and bishops!"
Benedict also made sure to tell the young people present at Deutscher Katholikentag that he hopes to see them at World Youth Day in Sydney, Australia this July.