Papal Message to International Youth Forum

«Christ Has Revealed to Us the Face of God That Is Love»

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Share this Entry

VATICAN CITY, MARCH 24, 2010 ( is a translation of the message Benedict XVI sent to Cardinal Stanislaw Rylko, president of the Pontifical Council for the Laity, and to the participants in the 10th International Youth Forum being held in Rocca di Papa on the theme «Learn to Love.»
* * *
To the Venerated Brother
Cardinal Stanislaw Rylko
President of the Pontifical Council for the Laity
I am happy to send my cordial greeting to you, to the collaborators of the Pontifical Council for the Laity and to all those taking part in the 10th International Youth Forum, being held this week in Rocca di Papa on the theme «Learn to Love.» I address with particular affection the young delegates of the episcopal conferences and of the different movements, associations and international communities, from the five continents. I extend my thought to the authoritative speakers, who bring to the meeting the contribution of their competence and experience.
«Learn to Love»: This topic is central to the Christian faith and life and I am happy that you have the occasion to reflect on it deeply together. As you know, the starting point of any reflection on love is the mystery itself of God, given that the heart of Christian revelation is this: «Deus caritas est.» In his Passion, in his total self-giving, Christ has revealed to us the face of God that is Love.
Contemplation of the mystery of the Trinity makes us enter into this mystery of eternal Love, which is fundamental for us. The first pages of the Bible state, in fact, that «God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them» (Genesis 1:27). By the very fact that God is love and man is in his image and likeness, we understand the profound identity of the person, his vocation to love. Man is made to love; his life is fully realized only if he lives in love. After having searched for a long time, St. Therese of the Child Jesus understood the meaning of her existence: «My vocation is Love!» (Manuscript B, folio 3).
I exhort the young people present in this forum to search with all their heart to discover their vocation to love, as persons and as baptized. This is the key to the whole of existence. Thus they will be able to invest all their energies in approaching the goal day after day, sustained by the Word of God and by the sacraments of reconciliation and the Eucharist.
The vocation to love takes different forms according to one’s state in life. In this Year for Priests I wish to recall the words of the holy Curé d’Ars: «The priesthood is love of the heart of Jesus.» In following Jesus, many priests have given their life, so that the faithful can live of the love of Christ. Called by God to give themselves entirely to him, with an integral heart, persons consecrated in celibacy are also a sign of the love of God for the world and of the vocation to love God above all.
I would also like to exhort the young delegates to discover the grandeur and beauty of marriage: The relationship between man and woman reflects divine love in a completely special way; because of this the conjugal bond assumes an immense dignity. Through the sacrament of marriage, the spouses are united by God and with their relationship manifest the love of Christ, who gave his life for the salvation of the world.

In a cultural context in which many persons consider marriage as a temporal contract that can be broken, it is of vital importance to understand that true love is faithful, definitive gift of self. Given that Christ consecrates the love of Christian spouses and commits himself to them, this fidelity not only is possible, but is the way to enter into an ever greater charity. Thus, in the daily life of the couple and of the family, spouses learn to love as Christ loves. Necessary to correspond to this vocation is a serious educational review and this Forum also places itself in this perspective.
These days of formation through meetings, listening to talks and common prayer, must also be a stimulus for all the young delegates to be witnesses to their contemporaries of what they have seen and heard. It is a true and authentic responsibility, for which the Church counts on you. They have an important role to carry out in the evangelization of young people in their countries, so that they will respond with joy and fidelity to Christ’s commandment: «love one another as I have loved you» (John 15:12).
Inviting youth to persevere in the path of charity in the following of Christ, I make an appointment with them for next Sunday in Saint Peter’s Square, where the solemn celebration of Palm Sunday and the 25th World Youth Day will take place.
This year the theme for reflection is: «Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?» (Mark 10:17). To this question, posed by a rich young man, Jesus answers with a look of love and an invitation to total self-giving for love of God. May this meeting be able to contribute to the generous response of each delegate to the call and gifts of the Lord!
With this aim I assure you of my prayers for all youth and I send you, Venerated Brothers, and all those participating in the International Forum, a heartfelt special Apostolic Blessing.

In the Vatican, March 20, 2010
 [Translation by ZENIT]

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Share this Entry


Support ZENIT

If you liked this article, support ZENIT now with a donation