Reflecting on the joy of the young people at last month’s World Youth Day in Sydney, Australia, Pope Benedict encouraged his audience to renew their relationship with God, dedicating time to silent prayer.
Speaking in Bressanone, Italy, where tomorrow he will conclude his two-week summer vacation, the Holy Father said he felt “at home” in the familiar surroundings and thanked the hospitality of the local inhabitants. He told his audience that he was grateful to God for the physical and spiritual renewal and that he “was able to rest in a manner suitable to a minister of God:” dedicating himself to prayer, reading and meditation, away from the daily worries of a pastor.
The Holy Father then recalled his experience in Sydney and the joyful faces of young people from around the world. He called them a “sign of authentic joy…always peaceful and positive.” To be joyful, Pope Benedict continued, “they did not need to resort to being vulgar and violent, to alcohol and drugs.”
The Holy Father said that other young people seek to calm interior emptiness and the boredom that accompanies it with “new experiences, more emotional, more ‘extreme’.” But the soul, he added, “does not find rest in this way. The heart does not feel joy nor find peace, but ends up feeling more tired and sad than before.”
Pope Benedict continued, “I referred to young people because they are often the most eager for life and new experiences and therefore, also the most at risk.” He reminded his audience that his reflection is valid for all people: “the human person is truly renewed only in a relationship with God.”
The Holy Father concluded by asking those in attendance to pray that vacations may be “days of true relaxation.”
After the Angelus, the Holy Father directed these words towards the Italian-speaking pilgrims:
“I offer a warm-welcome to the Italian-speaking visitors, in particular those from the Diocese of Bolzano-Bressanone and young people and families from other Italian dioceses. I thank all of you for your presence and affection. I offer a warm-welcome to the journalists who have covered my vacation in Bressanone. I thank you, dear friends, for your work and I assure you of my prayers for your intentions.”