Letters From a Young Catholic

My reflections as a Catholic young adult passionate about the Faith, seeking to grow in knowledge and understanding of God and discerning the will of the Lord in my life.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Advent Messages VI and VII

Ok, I realize this is REALLY cutting it close with one hour to go left in Advent in my time zone, but here are the last two sections of the message from Pope John Paul II for the 20th World Youth Day that I have been posting for Advent.

6. "And they departed to their own country by another way" (Mt 2:12). The Gospel tells us that after their meeting with Christ, the Magi returned home "by another way". This change of route can symbolise the conversion to which all those who encounter Jesus are called, in order to become the true worshippers that He desires (cf Jn 4: 23-24). This entails imitating the way He acted by becoming, as the apostle Paul writes, "a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God". The apostle then adds that we must not be conformed to the mentality of this world, but be transformed by the renewal of our minds, to "prove what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect" (cf Rm 12: 1-2).

Listening to Christ and worshipping Him leads us to make courageous choices, to take what are sometimes heroic decisions. Jesus is demanding, because He wishes our genuine happiness. He calls some to give up everything to follow Him in the priestly or consecrated life. Those who hear this invitation must not be afraid to say "yes" and to generously set about following Him as His disciples. But in addition to vocations to special forms of consecration there is also the specific vocation of all baptised Christians: that is also a vocation to that "high standard" of ordinary Christian living which is expressed in holiness (cf Novo Millennio Ineunte, 31). When we meet Christ and accept His Gospel, life changes and we are driven to communicate our experience to others.

There are so many of our contemporaries who do not yet know the love of God or who are seeking to fill their hearts with trifling substitutes. It is therefore urgently necessary for us to be witnesses to love contemplated in Christ. The invitation to take part in World Youth Day is also extended to you, dear friends, who are not baptised or who do not identify with the Church. Are you not perhaps yearning for the Absolute and in search of "something" to give a meaning to your lives? Turn to Christ and you will not be let down.

7. Dear young people, the Church needs genuine witnesses for the new evangelisation: men and women whose lives have been transformed by meeting with Jesus, men and women who are capable of communicating this experience to others. The Church needs saints. All are called to holiness, and holy people alone can renew humanity. Many have gone before us along this path of Gospel heroism, and I urge you to turn often to them to pray for their intercession. By meeting in Cologne you will learn to become better acquainted with some of them, such as St Boniface, the apostle of Germany, the Saints of Cologne, and in particular Ursula, Albert the Great, Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein) and Blessed Adolph Kolping. Of these I would like to specifically mention St Albert and Teresa Benedicta of the Cross who, with the same interior attitude as the Magi, were passionate seekers after the truth. They had no hesitation in placing their intellectual abilities at the service of the faith, thereby demonstrating that faith and reason are linked and seek each other.

My dear young people as you move forward in spirit towards Cologne, the pope will accompany you with his prayers. May Mary, "Eucharistic woman" and Mother of Wisdom, support you along the way, enlighten your decisions, and teach you to love what is true, good and beautiful. May she lead you all to her Son, who alone can satisfy the innermost yearnings of the human mind and heart.

Go with my blessing!