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Do not pass by those who suffer, Pope exhorts WYD crowd

Catholic World News - August 19, 2011

After praying the Stations of the Cross at World Youth Day on Friday evening, August 19, Pope Benedict XVI told the young participants to “be sure not to pass by on the other side in the face of human suffering, for it is here that God expects you to give of your very best: your capacity for love and compassion.”

“Christ’s passion urges us to take upon our own shoulders the sufferings of the world,” the Pope said, “in the certainty that God is not distant or far removed from man and his troubles.”

The meditations for the Stations of the Cross were written by the Little Sisters of the Cross, who work with the poor, and the theme had been helping those who are in need. The Pope encouraged the WYD congregation to reflect on how Christ offered himself for us, and to follow that example of sacrifice for those in need.

Pope Benedict also called attention to the treasures of Spanish religious art that had been used during the Stations of the Cross, noting that “faith and art combine so as to penetrate our heart and summon us to conversion.” At its best art strengthens devotion, he said, as “beauty places itself at its service and is able to depict the mysteries of our salvation in such a way as to move us profoundly and transform our hearts, as Saint Teresa of Jesus herself experienced while contemplating an image of the wounded Christ.”

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