Pontiff: Visit With Brazilian Youth Was a Highlight

Benedict XVI Invited Them to Be Apostles to Their Peers

VATICAN CITY, MAY 23, 2007 (Zenit.org).- Only the person who experiences God’s love can be a disciple and missionary, says Benedict XVI as he recalled the message he gave youth during his trip to Brazil.

The Pope summarized his May 9-14 apostolic trip to South America during today’s general audience today in St. Peter’s Square.

An “important moment of the journey was, without a doubt, the meeting with young people; hope not only for the future, but a vital force also for the present — for the Church and for society,” the Holy Father said.

During his meeting with the youth, he reflected on Matthew 19:16, which tells of the rich young man who asked Christ what he must do to inherit eternal life.

At the general audience, the Pontiff summarized his message: “Jesus points out, above all, the commandments as the way of life, and then invites him to leave everything to follow him.

“The Church does the same thing today: First of all, it proposes the commandments, the true education of freedom for personal and social good; and, above all, it proposes the ‘first commandment,’ that of love, because without love even the commandments cannot give full meaning to life and procure true happiness.

“Only the person who experiences the love of God in Christ and places himself on this path to live it among humanity, becomes his disciple and missionary.”

Benedict XVI said he offered the youth some challenges: “I invited the young people to be apostles of their peers; and to therefore take great care of their own human and spiritual formation; to have great esteem for marriage and the way that leads to marriage, in chastity and responsibility; to be open to the call to consecrated life for God’s kingdom.

“To summarize, I encouraged them to take advantage of the great ‘riches’ of their youth, to be the young face of the Church.”

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