Holy Father to Students: Be Saints

Says They Shouldn’t Settle for «Second Best»

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LONDON, SEPT. 17, 2010 (Zenit.org).- When Benedict XVI addressed the Catholic school students of England, Wales and Scotland, he addressed them as the future saints of the 21st century.

«What God wants most of all for each one of you is that you should become holy,» the Pope said today, the second day of his four-day state visit to the United Kingdom, to the 4,000 students gathered at the Sports Arena of St Mary’s University College in Twickenham.

The gathering, billed as «The Big Assembly,» was broadcast live via Internet to all the schools of England, Wales and Scotland, which gave the Pope a unique chance to address a large number of students of the region. «It is not often that a Pope, or indeed anyone else, has the opportunity to speak to the students of all the Catholic schools of England, Wales and Scotland at the same time,» he quipped.

The Pope told the students that he had an important message for them, and that was that God «loves you much more than you could ever begin to imagine, and he wants the very best for you. And by far the best thing for you is to grow in holiness.»

«When I invite you to become saints, I am asking you not to be content with second best,» he continued, «I am asking you not to pursue one limited goal and ignore all the others. Having money makes it possible to be generous and to do good in the world, but on its own, it is not enough to make us happy.

«Being highly skilled in some activity or profession is good, but it will not satisfy us unless we aim for something greater still. It might make us famous, but it will not make us happy.

«Happiness is something we all want, but one of the great tragedies in this world is that so many people never find it, because they look for it in the wrong places.»

Benedict XVI said the key to happiness is actually very simple: «True happiness is to be found in God. […] Only he can satisfy the deepest needs of our hearts.»

«God wants your friendship,» the Pope continued, «And once you enter into friendship with God, everything in your life begins to change. As you come to know him better, you find you want to reflect something of his infinite goodness in your own life.

«You are attracted to the practice of virtue. You begin to see greed and selfishness and all the other sins for what they really are, destructive and dangerous tendencies that cause deep suffering and do great damage, and you want to avoid falling into that trap yourselves.

«You begin to feel compassion for people in difficulties and you are eager to do something to help them. You want to come to the aid of the poor and the hungry, you want to comfort the sorrowful, you want to be kind and generous.

«And once these things begin to matter to you, you are well on the way to becoming saints.»

The Holy Father encouraged the students to «learn not just to be good students, but good citizens, good people,» and to «never allow yourselves to become narrow. «

Addressing the non-Catholic students present in the schools, the Pope said he hoped that they too «»will feel encouraged to practice virtue and to grow in knowledge and friendship with God alongside your Catholic classmates.»

«You are a reminder to them of the bigger picture that exists outside the school,» he said, «and indeed, it is only right that respect and friendship for members of other religious traditions should be among the virtues learned in a Catholic school.

«I hope too that you will want to share with everyone you meet the values and insights you have learned through the Christian education you have received.»

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On ZENIT’s Web page:

Full text: www.zenit.org/article-30376?l=english

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