.- During the second day of the Eucharistic and Marian Congress being held in Piura, Peru, Bishop Kay Schmalhausen of Ayaviri told the assembled youth, “Jesus knows you and always accompanies you,” because the love of Christ is always personal and he never abandons anyone.
Speaking to 24,000 people gathered at the Miguel Grau stadium, Bishop Schmalhausen gave a talk titled, “I have come that they might have life and have it abundantly.” In the presence of the well-known pilgrim statue of the Captive Lord from Ayabaca, the bishop declared, “even in the bitterest hours of loneliness or anguish, including when our friends have left us, Jesus is always with us. Standing at your side, he says ‘Do not be afraid, you are not alone. I, who have loved you from the beginning, am with you until the end’.”
“This certainty,” he continued, “is recorded in the venerated image of the Captive Lord of Ayabaca. Jesus has made himself our captive. He binds himself to man in his love. His faithful love is a tender love, a compassionate love, of pardon, and of piety. As our captive, he accompanies and sustains us always. When everyone has abandoned us, he stays by our side. It is important that we remember that love time and time again.”
During the catechesis, the bishop also exhorted the young people to be witnesses to pure and chaste love. “A love that knows how to respect the other, that recognizes just limits, an unselfish love that doesn't seek to use and manipulate the other, a love between lovers that knows how to say, ‘Yes, I love you’, but that is also capable of guarding the chasteness of heart and body –sanctuary of the Holy Spirit- for marriage. I know it is a demanding task. But if you give yourselves to prayer, the sacraments and a generous Christian life, none of that will be impossible.”
Bishop Schmalhausen also encouraged his listeners to respond to the call of the Lord with courage and generosity in their vocations. “If there are among you, young people, those who feel called to a testimony of radical commitment to the Lord, do not be afraid of responding. The Lord continues to call many young people to consecrate themselves to him with their whole lives for their whole lives,” he explained.
During his talk, the prelate recommended the practice of constant prayer, especially that of Eucharistic adoration, participating in Sunday Mass and going to confession frequently. He also recommended three simple practices for a full Christian life: to live the encounter with the Lord Jesus, to be true disciples of Jesus, and to be apostles and missionaries to the world.