.- Enthusiasm swept through the crowd as Pope Benedict XVI arrived in Marienfeld Saturday evening for the World Youth Day vigil.
The young people cheered and waved as Pope Benedict was driven through the 2,700-hectare field to the stage, called the Altar’s Hill, from which the Pope led the evening prayers and delivered his address. The hill was lit up with 7,000 candles that had been placed into the earth.
At the beginning of the vigil, the young people cheered again when the Pope blessed a large church bell in memory of John Paul II. It was rung as the choir sang Laudate Omnes Gentes. WYD organizers said the bell would be placed in a Cologne church.
Calling the pilgrims “dear young friends”, Pope Benedict told the 700,000 young people that definitive change and revolution in the world only comes from God and the saints.
“In the last century we experienced revolutions with a common program – expecting nothing more from God, they assumed total responsibility for the cause of the world in order to change it,” he said. “True revolution consists in simply turning to God who is the measure of what is right and who at the same time is everlasting love.”
“[The saints] show us the way to attain happiness, they show us how to be truly human. Through all the ups and downs of history, they were the true reformers who constantly rescued it from plunging into the valley of darkness; it was they who constantly shed upon it the light that was needed to make sense – even in the midst of suffering,” he said.
He urged the young people to contemplate the saints from whom “we learn what it means ‘to adore’ and what it means to live according to the measure of the child of Bethlehem, by the measure of Jesus Christ and of God himself.”
He called on the young people to learn to adore Christ, just as the saints and the three Magi who preceded them.
“The new King, to whom [the three Magi] now paid homage, was quite unlike what they were expecting,” he said. “In this way they had to learn that God is not as we usually imagine him to be. This was where their inner journey began.”
The Magi had to change their ideas about power, God and man, and ultimately, they had to change themselves and learn to be giving of themselves in order to serve Him, the Pope said.
The Pope also made reference to wars and violence, fuelled by ideas that such violence is the will of God. “There are many who speak of God; some even preach hatred and perpetrate violence in God’s name,” he said. “So it is important to discover the true face of God.
“This means that we are not constructing a private God, a private Jesus, but that we believe and worship the Jesus who is manifested to us by the Sacred Scriptures and who reveals himself to be alive in the great procession of the faithful called the Church, always alongside us and always before us,” he proclaimed.
“There is much that could be criticized in the Church,” the Pope admitted. However, he said, it is “consoling to realize that there is darnel in the Church.
”In this way, despite all our defects, we can still hope to be counted among the disciples of Jesus, who came to call sinners,” he said. “The Church is like a human family, but at the same time it is also the great family of God, through which he establishes an overarching communion and unity that embraces every continent, culture and nation.”
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