.- In his message to all the youth in the world, for the celebration of the XXI World Youth Day, which will take place on Palm Sunday, April 9, Pope Benedict called the youth to be “a new generation of apostles anchored firmly in the word of Christ, capable of responding to the challenges of our times and prepared to spread the Gospel far and wide.”
The Pope’s offers to the youth a reflection based on words of the psalmist, "Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path" (Ps 119 :105), and he reminded the word of his predecessor John Paul II : "The one who prays pours out his thanks for the Law of God that he adopts as a lamp for his steps in the often dark path of Life" (General Audience, Wednesday 14 November 2001).
Pope Benedict acknowledge that “It is not easy to recognize and find authentic happiness in this world in which we live, where people are often held captive by the current ways of thinking,” and warned them of the illusion of freedom proposed by the world :“they may think they are "free", but they are being led astray and become lost amid the errors or illusions of aberrant ideologies.”
The Holy Father encourages the youth to “meditate often on the word of God, and allow the Holy Spirit to be your teacher,” and to discover “that God’s way of thinking is not the same as that of humankind’s.”
Reminding the words of Saint Paul, "Indeed, the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing until it divides soul from spirit, joints from marrow; it is able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart" (4:12). Pope Benedict vowed for an understanding of the word as a “an indispensable ‘weapon’ in the spiritual struggle.”
“My dear young friends, I urge you to become familiar with the Bible, and to have it at hand so that it can be your compass pointing out the road to follow. By reading it, you will learn to know Christ.”
Repeating the words of Saint James tells us: "Be doers of the word, and not merely hearers who deceive themselves, the pope reminded the necessity of an action deeply rooted in the word of God.
“There is an urgent need for the emergence of a new generation of apostles anchored firmly in the word of Christ, capable of responding to the challenges of our times and prepared to spread the Gospel far and wide,” the Holy Father stressed.
Looking forward to the next international encounter for the Youth in Sydney, “ We will prepare for that great appointment reflecting together on the theme The Holy Spirit and the mission in successive stages.
Pope Benedict concludes his message by an invocation of Mary, “ May she be your mother and guide. May she teach you to receive the word of God, to treasure it and to ponder on it in your heart.”
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