Cheering Thousands Welcome Pope to Madrid

Christ’s Words Are Never Empty, He Tells Youth Day Participants

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MADRID, Spain, AUG. 18, 2011 ( Words can be used for entertainment or information, but the words of Jesus have another purpose, Benedict XVI is telling youth in Madrid. The words of Christ are meant to reach the heart and take root.

The Pope arrived in Madrid today to the cheers of hundreds of thousands of youth who lined the streets in welcome. As many as 1 million are expected to participate in this 26th World Youth Day, which ends Sunday.

“There are words which serve only to amuse, as fleeting as an empty breeze; others, to an extent, inform us; those of Jesus, on the other hand, must reach our hearts, take root and bloom there all our lives. If not, they remain empty and become ephemeral. They do not bring us to him and, as a result, Christ stays remote, just one voice among the many others around us which are so familiar,” the Holy Father told the young people in an afternoon event at Plaza de Cibeles.

The Master, the Pontiff continued, teaches “not something learned from others, but that which he himself is, the only one who truly knows the path of man towards God, because he is the one who opened it up for us, he made it so that we might have authentic lives, lives which are always worth living, in every circumstance, and which not even death can destroy.”

He has always loved you

The Bishop of Rome welcomed the youth of the world to Madrid, speaking in Spanish and then addressing a particular greeting in various languages.

His message to French-speaking youth had particular words of encouragement. Congratulating them for arriving in such great numbers, he noted that they arrive with “profound questions” and “seeking answers.”

“It is always a good thing to keep seeking,” he told them. “Above all, seek the Truth, which is not an idea or an ideology or a slogan, but a person: Christ, God himself, who has come into our midst! You rightly wish to plant your faith in him, to ground your life in Christ. He has always loved you and he knows you better than anyone else. May these days so rich in prayer, teaching and encounters help you to rediscover this, so that you may love him all the more.”

The Holy Father also had a special message for the Poles, “countrymen of Blessed John Paul II, the founder of World Youth Day.”

“I am delighted by your presence here in Madrid,” Benedict XVI told them. “I pray that these will be good days, days of prayer, in which you will strengthen your relationship with Jesus. May God’s Spirit guide you.”

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