~from Asia News
Loreto– In an exigent and a clear proposal Benedict XVI today invited the young people gathered on the Montorso plain between Loreto and the Adriatic sea, to a lifestyle that “goes against the trend”, to transform society by following the “humble” example of Mary. In his homily during mass concluding the Youth Agorà, he said: “Do not follow the path of pride, rather, follow the path of humility” Go against the trend: do not listen to that chorus of bias and persuasive voices which today put forward a model of life that is drenched in arrogance and violence, in dominance and success at all costs, where appearance and possession to the detriment of others is openly promoted. All of these messages carried by the mass media are aimed at you! Be vigilant! Be critical! Do not follow the trend produced by this powerfully persuasive media. Do not be afraid, my dear friends, to prefer the ‘alternative’ route indicated by true love: a sober style of life, a life of solidarity; an honest commitment to your studies and work; a cultivated interest in the common good. Do not be afraid to appear different, or the criticism that you are out of fashion or a loser; people your age, even adults, all of those who seem far from the mentality of the Gospel values, have a deep seated need to see someone who dares to live according to the fullness of humanity manifested by Jesus Christ”.
The pope’s words met with the warm applause of the immense crowd gathered on the plain. Yesterday alone, over 300 thousand people for the vigil; this morning, the arrival of thousands more young people pushing the numbers up to touch half a million. Many of them spent the night in the open, in prayer and meditation or in dialogue, helped by the “fountains of light”, illuminated meeting points placed at intervals throughout the plain, where priests and catechists were present to listen, hear confessions, speak about vocations, until first light appeared and the Morning Prayer said.
The courage of humility
What Benedict XVI proposed is a veritable way of life for anyone who wishes to remain “young”. Yesterday evening during the vigil the testimonies of some young people laid bare the difficulties and insecurities, the marginalization and unemployment linked to the world of the young. Today the pope affirmed that “Jesus has a special preference for the young” and that God himself “seeks young hearts …. To become the protagonists of the New Alliance”.
The pope’s programme for young people is taken from Mary’s “youth” and has at its foundation her humility. Recalling the nearby sanctuary of Loreto, where stones from the Holy House of Nazareth are preserved he affirmed: “the Holy House of Nazareth is the sanctuary of humility: the humility of God who became flesh and of Mary who welcomed him to her womb”.
The pope is not afraid of showing the stark opposition between the ideals of the world and Christianity: “The humble – he says – are perceived as being defeated and beaten, people who have nothing to offer the world. Yet this is the master route, not only because humility is a great virtue, but because above all it represents the very way in which God himself behaves. It is the path chosen by Christ”. And after having underlined the necessity of a witness that “goes against the trend”, he adds: “My dear friends, the path of humility is not the path of renunciation, it is the path of true courage. It is not the result of a defeat but of victory of love over selfishness and of grace over sin. In following Christ and imitating Mary, we must have the courage of humility”.
The “new paths” which the young people need to follow imply the ability to say “yes to God”, from who “all the yes of our lives” descend. There is also something new in our view of the faith and of the Church: “Our faith does is not merely a list of moral prerogatives, rather, it is a glorious journey towards the light of our Yes to God. It is true; there are many great challenges ahead of you. The first of which remains the challenge of following Christ to the very depths, without reservations, without compromise. Following Christ means being a living part of his body, which is the Church. You cannot call yourself a disciple of Jesus if you do not love and follow his Church”.