Pontiff Offers Youth a Counter-Current Invitation

Reflects on His Message for World Youth Day

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CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy, SEPT. 5, 2010 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI says his message for the 2011 World Youth Day offers youth a counter-current proposal, since rootedness and strength are values that have been rejected in favor of uncertainty and mobility.

The Pope made this reflection today when he offered a commentary on his message for World Youth Day ’11. The message was dated Aug. 6 and released Friday.

Before taking up the topic of the WYD statement, the Holy Father told the crowds gathered in Castel Gandolfo for the midday Angelus that he was sorry for arriving late. He had just returned from a pastoral visit to Carpineto Romano, the birthplace of Pope Leo XIII.

Turning to the theme of the message — «Planted and built up in Jesus Christ, firm in the faith» — he said that he chose a proposal that is «resolutely counter-current.»

«Indeed,» the Pontiff observed, «who today proposes to young people to be ‘planted’ and ‘firm’? Rather, uncertainty, mobility, volubility are exalted … all aspects that reflect a culture that is indecisive in regard to basic values, principles on the basis of which one’s life is oriented and regulated.»

But Benedict XVI affirmed his own experience proves that «every individual person is newly called to follow the path of discovering the meaning of life.»

In the context, then, of the biblical images of the tree and the house, he proposed that a young person «is like a tree that is growing: To develop well, he needs deep roots that — when there comes a storm with strong winds — keep him firmly planted in the soil.»

The heart of the message is here, the Pope said. «The full maturity of the person, his interior stability, has its basis in relation to God, a relation that passes through the encounter with Jesus Christ. A relationship of deep trust, of authentic friendship with Jesus is able to give to a young person what he needs to deal well with life: serenity and interior light, a capacity to think positively, generosity of soul toward others, availability to give oneself for the good, justice and truth. «

And this faith doesn’t occur in isolation, the Holy Father clarified. «[I]f no man is an island, much less is a Christian, who in the Church discovers the beauty of faith shared and witnessed together with others in fraternity and the service of charity.»

The Pontiff concluded by entrusting to Our Lady the path of preparation for World Youth Day 2011, to be held in Madrid next August.

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On ZENIT’s Web page:

Full text: www.zenit.org/article-30249?l=english

On the Net:

Pope’s World Youth Day message: www.vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/messages/youth/documents/hf_ben-xvi_mes_20100806_youth_en.html

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