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Madrid cardinal invites ‘Benedict XVI generation’ to prayer, sacraments

Catholic World News - August 17, 2011

Preaching before an estimated half million pilgrims in Madrid’s Plaza de Cibeles, Cardinal Antonio María Rouco Varela celebrated the opening Mass of World Youth Day.

In his lengthy homily, which paid tribute to Spain’s Christian roots and to Blessed John Paul II, the Madrid cardinal preached that “you are the generation of Benedict XVI. It is not the same as that of John Paul II. Your 'place in life' has its peculiarities. Your problems and life circumstances have changed. Globalization, new technologies in communication, the economic crisis, etc., has been a determining factor in your life sometimes for better and often times for worst.”

Cardinal Rouco continued:

The youth of today, with weakened existential roots due to a rampant spiritual and moral relativism, "imprisoned by the dominant power" (Benedict XVI. Message for WYD 2011, 1), and can find no solid foundation on which to build your life in today’s culture and society, even sometimes, in the family. You are tempted to your absolute limit to lose your way in life: How could your faith not be sometimes shaken?

Youth of the 21st century need, even more than previous generations, to find the Lord through the only path that has proven spiritually effective: that of a humble and simple pilgrim seeking God’s face. The youth of today need to see Jesus Christ when He comes to meet them in the Word, the sacraments, “as well, and most importantly, in the Eucharist and the Sacrament of Penance, the poor and the sick, in those brothers experiencing difficulty and in need of help” (Benedict XVI. Message, 4). They need to see and enter into an intimate dialogue with Him, who loves them without asking anything in return except that you answer with your own love.

The intention of the Pope who loves you so much, is to guide you in this very way: that you may experience in the communion of the Catholic Church the truth and the urgency of making the theme of World Youth Day 2011your life: "rooted and built upin Christ, firm in the faith” (cf. Col 2.7).

In his greeting to the youth attending the Mass, Cardinal Stanislaw Rylko, president of the Pontifical Council for the Laity, emphasized the centrality of faith and again recalled the figure of Blessed John Paul.

“Our reflection and prayer over the next few days will be guided by the words of Saint Paul that you know so well: “Planted and built up in Jesus Christ, firm in the faith” (cf. Col 2:7),” he said. “This is very demanding because it contains a definite life plan for each one of us. Faith will be at the center of our reflection at this time. Faith is a decisive factor in each person’s life. Everything changes according to whether God exists or not. Faith is like a root that is nourished by the lifeblood of the word of God and the sacraments. It is the foundation, the rock on which life is built, the dependable compass that guides our choices and gives clear direction to our lives.”

Blessed John Paul has “returned as your blessed patron and as a protector in whom you can trust,” Cardinla Rylko added. “He has returned as a friend--a demanding friend, as he liked to call himself. He has come to say to you yet again and with much affection: Do not be afraid! Choose to have Christ in your lives and to possess the precious pearl of the Gospel for which it is worthwhile giving everything!”

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