Pope to Adolescents: Learn to Love Truly

Warns Against Egoism That Suffocates the Heart

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VATICAN CITY, OCT. 31, 2010 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI is encouraging adolescents and young people to learn what it means to truly love, explaining that the secret is to be a gift to others.

The Pope stated this Saturday in a question and answer session with representatives of Italian Catholic Action. Some 50,000 children, 30,000 youth and 10,000 educators of the organization were present in St. Peter’s Square for the meeting with the Pontiff.

The youth, ages 4-18, represented all the dioceses of Italy, and after the meeting with the Holy Father participated in events throughout Rome focused on the theme: «There Is More. We Become Great Together.»

While mainly for Italian youth, the gathering also included participants from Catholic Action in Romania, Argentina, Burundi, the Holy Land and Spain.

After a question from a young woman of Catholic Action, Benedict XVI responded, «It is very important, I would say fundamental, to learn to love, truly to love, to learn the art of real love!»

He continued: «In adolescence we stop before the mirror and we notice that we are changing. But if you continue to look at yourself, you will never grow up!

«You grow up when you do no longer let the mirror be the only truth about you but when you let your friends tell you.

«You will grow up if you are able to make your life a gift to others, not to seek yourselves, but to give yourselves to others: this is the school of love.»

The Pope added, «This love, however, must bring you into that ‘more’ that today shouts to everyone: ‘There is more!'»

Pure air

He recalled, «I too, in my youth wanted something more than what the society and the mentality of the time presented to me.»

«I wanted to breathe pure air,» the Pontiff said. «Above all I desired a beautiful and good world, like our God, the Father of Jesus, wanted for everyone.»

«And I understood more and more that the world becomes beautiful and good if one knows this will of God and if the world corresponds to this will of God,» he added, «which is the true light, beauty, love that gives the world meaning.»

«You cannot and must not adapt yourselves to a love reduced to a commodity to be consumed without respect for oneself or for others, incapable of chastity and purity,» the Holy Father urged. «This is not freedom.»

He noted that «much of the ‘love’ that is proposed by the media, on the internet, is not love but egoism, closure, it gives you the illusion of a moment, but it does not make you happy, it does not make you grow up, it binds you like a chain that suffocates more beautiful thoughts and sentiments, the true desires of the heart, that irrepressible power that is love and that has its maximum expression in Jesus and strength and fire in the Holy Spirit, who enflames your lives, your thoughts, your affections.»

«Of course it demands sacrifice to live love in the true way — without renunciation one does not find this road — but I am certain that you are not afraid of the toil of a challenging and authentic love,» Benedict XVI stated.

He added, «It is the only kind that, in the final analysis, gives true joy!»

«There is a test,» the Pope said, «that tells you whether your love is growing in a healthy way: if you do not exclude others from your life, above all your friends who are suffering and alone, people in difficulty, and if you open your heart to the great friend Jesus.»

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Full text: http://zenit.org/article-30814?l=english

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