Seek holiness using the four essentials, Benedict XVI tells youth
Some of the 25,000 youth and seminarians gathered at St. Joseph Seminary
Some of the 25,000 youth and seminarians gathered at St. Joseph Seminary
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.- The Pope’s speech to the thousands of youth gathered in Yonkers, NY today featured a call to the youth to strive for holiness by using the “four essential aspects” of the faith: personal prayer and silence, liturgical prayer, active charity, and vocations.

“Let your imaginations soar freely along the limitless expanse of the horizons of Christian discipleship,” he said.  “Sometimes we are looked upon as people who speak only of prohibitions. Nothing could be further from the truth! Authentic Christian discipleship is marked by a sense of wonder. We stand before the God we know and love as a friend, the vastness of his creation, and the beauty of our Christian faith.”

The Pope listed what he called the “four essential aspects” of the treasure of faith: personal prayer and silence, liturgical prayer, active charity, and vocations.

Pope Benedict urged youth to develop their personal relationship with God, a relationship expressed in prayer.  “Pray constantly,” the Pope said, quoting St. Paul.  “As the saints teach us so vividly,” he continued,” prayer becomes hope in action.”  He also encouraged silent contemplation, saying, “Have we perhaps lost something of the art of listening?  …don’t be afraid of silence or stillness.”

He described the Church’s liturgy as “a ministry of hope for humanity” and “the whole Church at prayer,” quoting a Vatican II document Sacrosanctum Concilium which called the liturgy "the work of Christ the Priest and of His Body which is the Church."  

This work, he said, refers to Christ's Passion, his Death and Resurrection, and his Ascension.  “This ‘work of Jesus’ is the real content of the liturgy.”  Jesus is at work whenever a Christian goes to Mass, goes to Confession, or celebrates any of the sacraments.  “Through the Holy Spirit, he draws you to himself, into his sacrificial love of the Father which becomes love for all.”

Faithful participation in the liturgy, the Pope said, is an “active hope which helps to keep the world - saints and sinners alike - open to God; this is the truly human hope we offer everyone.”

Altogether, the Pope said to the audience, personal prayer, silent contemplation, participation in the liturgy “prepare you to serve others.”

In contemplating Jesus on the Cross, the Pope said, we see this love and service “in its most radical form.”

“Look about you with Christ's eyes, listen with his ears, feel and think with his heart and mind. Are you ready to give all as he did for truth and justice?”  He said many of the sufferings to which saints have responded are present. “And new injustices have arisen,” he said, referencing the environment.  “Even our common habitat, the earth itself, groans under the weight of consumerist greed and irresponsible exploitation.”

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