Vocations Ireland News
Ann Marie Foley for CatholicIreland.net
The Pope refers to Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati who experienced many trials during his short life, yet he was described as a model for young people and a young person with infectious joy, that overcame many difficulties in his life.
Chiara Badano, who was recently beatified, experienced how pain could be transfigured by love and mysteriously steeped in joy, according to the Pope. Chiara Badano has special significance at this year's International Eucharistic Congress to be held in Dublin.
Chiara Luce (as she was called) has given her name to the area where the youth programme will take place, the Chiara Luce Youth Space at the RDS. Organisers say she was described as, "a hurricane of light" and beatified in 2010 and is the patron saint of the youth space.
The Pope states in his message for World Youth day, "Authentic Christians are never despairing or sad, not even when faced with difficult trials. They show that Christian joy is not a flight from reality, but a supernatural power that helps us to deal with the challenges of daily life."
The theme chosen by the Holy Father for twenty-seventh World Youth Day is, "Rejoice in the Lord always." The day being celebrated in dioceses on Palm Sunday and highlights the message of joy, which is one of the marks of the youth gatherings.
"In these difficult times, so many young people all around you need to hear that the Christian message is a message of joy and hope!" states the Pope.
In his message, Pope Benedict XVI writes that youth is a time of openness to the future and of great longing for happiness, friendship, sharing and truth, a time when people are moved by high ideals and make great plans. He goes on to explain that God is the source of true joy.
Nevertheless, he explained infinite joy does not remain closed in on itself, but expands to embrace all whom God loves and who love Him. God offers us an unconditional acceptance.
The liturgy is a special place where the Church expresses the joy received from the Lord and transmits it to the world. The Pope reminds the young people that to love means to be steadfast, reliable and faithful to commitments. He urges them to be generous and not be content to give the minimum.
"The world needs men and women who are competent and generous, willing to be at the service of the common good. Find ways to help make society more just and humane wherever you happen to be."
On vocations, he tells young people of the joy they will feel if they respond to the vocation to give their whole life to the Lord. Likewise, God gives great joy to men and women who give themselves totally to one another in marriage in order to build a family. Thirdly, joy will come in fraternal love to grow in their lives and in those of their communities.
He cautions against giving in to temptations in our present-day culture that often pressures us to seek immediate goals, achievements and pleasures.
"It fosters fickleness more than perseverance, hard work and fidelity to commitments. Experience teaches us that possessions do not ensure happiness."
He urges the young people to observe the Commandments in order find the path to life and happiness. They are not a list of prohibitions and an obstacle to freedom, but essential and valuable rules leading to a happy life in accordance with God's plan.
He concludes by encouraging young people to be missionaries of joy.
"If the way Christians live at times appears dull and boring, you should be the first to show the joyful and happy side of faith. The Gospel is the good news that God loves us and that each of us is important to Him. Show the world that this is true!" he concludes.