Loreto (Agenzia Fides) - “ Even today God continues to seek young hearts, He seeks young people with great hearts who are capable of making space for Him in their lives in order to become protagonists of the New Covenant… Jesus has a special love for young people … he respects their freedom, but never tires of proposing to them lofty ideals for life: the newness of the Gospel and the beauty of holy behaviour”. This was part of the homily given by Pope Benedict XVI during a solemn concelebration of Mass which he presided on Sunday 2 September in the esplanade of Montorso, close to the Shrine of Loreto, where about 500,000 young Italians had gathered for the Youth Agorà (see Dossier Fides 30/8/2007).
“Following the example of her Lord - the Pope said in his homily - the Church shows the same concern. This is why, dear young people, she looks at you with great affection, and is close to you in times of joy and festivity and in times of trial and bewilderment; she sustains you with the gifts of sacramental grace, and accompanies you as you discern your vocation. Dear young people let yourselves be involved in the new life which springs from the encounter with Christ and you will be apostles of His peace in your families, among your friends, in your ecclesial communities and in the different environments in which you live and work”.
Dwelling on the subject of humility, proposed by the Sunday readings the Pope said: “our thoughts go naturally to the Holy House of Nazareth, the shrine of humility: the humility of God who took on human flesh, who became a little child, and the humility of Mary who welcomed Him into her womb; the humility of the Creator and the humility of the creature. From this encounter of humility Jesus, Son of God and Son of man was born”. Today, he continued, "the humble are seen as resigned and defeated people who have nothing to say to the world. Yet the truth is that humility is the best way, and not only because it is a great human virtue but also, and primarily, because it is God's own way of acting.”.
The Holy Father launched a message to all young people "who wish to follow
Christ and to be part of His Church. ... Do not follow the path of pride but that of humility. Swim against the tide. Do not listen to biased and persuasive voices advocating lifestyles based on arrogance and violence, on self-importance and success at all costs, on appearance and possession to the detriment of being… "Be vigilant and critical" towards the messages that reach you via the
communications media, warned the Holy Father. "Do not be afraid to give preference to the 'alternative' paths indicated by real love: a life of sobriety and solidarity; pure and sincere emotional relationships; honest commitment in study and work; profound concern for the common good. Do not be afraid to seem different or to be criticised for ... being out of fashion. Your peers, ... and especially those who seem furthest from the mentality and values of the Gospel, have a profound need to see someone who dares to live in accordance with the fullness of humanity as manifested by
The Pope urged the young people to “have the courage to be humble”, following Christ and Mary, and the example of many saints who show how to face the challenges encountered by young people today, “ In this context, he indicated that the main challenge that young people must face is that of "following Christ to the full, without reserve or compromise. And following Christ means feeling oneself to be a living part of His body, which is the Church. .... Following Christ also involves a constant struggle to make one's own contribution to building a more just and united society, in which everyone can enjoy the goods of the earth” Pope Benedict XVI said towards the end of his homily stressing the urgent need to protect creation: “ to the young generations is entrusted the future of the planet, in which there are evident signs of development which has not always safeguarded the delicate balance of nature. Before it is too late, courageous choices must be made aimed at recreating a powerful bond between man and the earth. What is needed is a decided 'yes' to safeguarding creation and a deep commitment to invert tendencies that risk leading to conditions of irreversible degradation.”.
The Holy Father concluded his homily assuring the young people of his closeness, “prayers and affection” in this three year journey of the Agorà, and he invited them to take part in the second lap, World Youth Day next year in Sydney, entrusting them to Mary, model of humility and courage Maria, urging them to be “tireless and joyous missionaries of the Gospel among young people in every corner of Italy”,
At the end of Mass the Pope introduced the Angelus prayer with a call to turn with “mind and heart to the Shrine of the Holy House, those walls which according to tradition come from Nazareth, the place where Our Lady said "yes" to God and conceived in her womb the eternal Word.” He then underlined the bond between the square and the house: “ a mutual bond between the piazza [the Agora] and the house [the Holy House of Loreto]. The piazza is large and open, it
is a place for meeting others, for dialogue. ... The house, on the other hand, is a place for meditation and for interior silence where the Word can be absorbed profoundly. In order to take God into the piazza it is necessary first to have absorbed Him in the house, just as Mary did at the
Annunciation. And, vice versa, the house is open onto the piazza”. He ended by asking the young people to go, at least “in heart”, to the Holy House of Loreto at the important moments of life: “pray to Mary that she may obtain for you the light and the power of the Holy Spirit so you may respond fully and generously to the voice of God. Then you will become his witness in the "piazza", in society, bearers of a Gospel which is not abstract, but is incarnated in your lives.” (S.L.) (Agenzia Fides 3/9/2007; righe 68, parole 1.033)