Thursday, December 29, 2005

B16 To the Youth: Be (Truly) Happy!

Here's a letter which went unnoticed for the most part: the papal message to Dutch youth gathered for a national congress in November....

Some snips:
How easy it is to be content with the superficial pleasures that daily life offers us; how easy it is to live only for oneself, apparently enjoying life! But sooner or later we realize that this is not true happiness, because true happiness is much deeper: we find it only in Jesus.

As I said in Cologne, "The happiness you are seeking, the happiness you have a right to enjoy, has a name and a face: it is Jesus of Nazareth"...

I therefore invite you every day to seek the Lord, who wants nothing more than for you to be truly happy. Foster an intense and constant relationship with him in prayer and, when possible, find suitable moments in your day to be alone in his company. If you do not know how to pray, ask him to teach you, and ask your heavenly Mother to pray with you and for you.

The recitation of the Rosary can help you learn the art of prayer with Mary's simplicity and depth. It is important that you make participation in the Eucharist, in which Jesus gives himself for us, the heart of your life. He who died for the sins of all desires to enter into communion with each one of you and is knocking at the doors of your hearts to give you his grace.

Go to the encounter with him in the Blessed Eucharist, go to adore him in the churches, kneeling before the Tabernacle: Jesus will fill you with his love and will reveal to you the thoughts of his Heart. If you listen to him, you will feel ever more deeply the joy of belonging to his Mystical Body, the Church, which is the family of his disciples held close by the bond of unity and love.

You will also learn, as the Apostle Paul says, to let yourselves be reconciled with God (cf. II Cor 5: 20). Especially in the Sacrament of Reconciliation, Jesus waits for you to forgive you your sins and reconcile you with his love through the ministry of the priest. By confessing your sins humbly and truthfully, you will receive the pardon of God himself through the words of his minister....

Take care to grow in the knowledge of the faith in order to be its authentic witnesses. Dedicate yourselves to understanding Catholic doctrine ever better: even if at times in looking at it with the eyes of the world it may seem a difficult message to accept, in it is the answer that satisfies your basic questions.

Trust your Pastors and guides, Bishops and priests; become actively involved in the parishes, movements, associations and Ecclesial Communities to experience together the joy of being followers of Christ, who proclaims and gives truth and love. And truly impelled by his truth and love, you will be able, together with other young people who are seeking the true meaning of life, to build a better future for all.

Dear friends, I am close to you with my prayers. May you generously accept the call of the Lord, who holds up to you great ideals that can make your lives beautiful and full of joy. You can be certain of it: only by responding positively to his appeal, however demanding it may seem to you, is it possible to find happiness and peace of heart.