the Venerated Brother
Cardinal Stanislaw Rylko
President of the Pontifical Council for the Laity
I am happy to send my cordial greeting to you, to the
collaborators of the Pontifical Council for the Laity and to all
those taking part in the 10th International Youth Forum, being
held this week in Rocca di Papa on the theme "Learn to Love." I
address with particular affection the young delegates of the
episcopal conferences and of the different movements,
associations and international communities, from the five
continents. I extend my thought to the authoritative speakers,
who bring to the meeting the contribution of their competence
"Learn to Love": This topic is central to the Christian faith
and life and I am happy that you have the occasion to reflect on
it deeply together. As you know, the starting point of any
reflection on love is the mystery itself of God, given that the
heart of Christian revelation is this: "Deus caritas est." In
his Passion, in his total self-giving, Christ has revealed to us
the face of God that is Love.
Contemplation of the mystery of the Trinity makes us enter into
this mystery of eternal Love, which is fundamental for us. The
first pages of the Bible state, in fact, that "God created man
in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and
female he created them" (Genesis 1:27). By the very fact that
God is love and man is in his image and likeness, we understand
the profound identity of the person, his vocation to love. Man
is made to love; his life is fully realized only if he lives in
love. After having searched for a long time, St. Therese of the
Child Jesus understood the meaning of her existence: "My
vocation is Love!" (Manuscript B, folio 3).
I exhort the young people present in this forum to search with
all their heart to discover their vocation to love, as persons
and as baptized. This is the key to the whole of existence. Thus
they will be able to invest all their energies in approaching
the goal day after day, sustained by the Word of God and by the
sacraments of reconciliation and the Eucharist.
The vocation to love takes different forms according to one's
state in life. In this Year for Priests I wish to recall the
words of the holy Curé d'Ars: "The priesthood is love of the
heart of Jesus." In following Jesus, many priests have given
their life, so that the faithful can live of the love of Christ.
Called by God to give themselves entirely to him, with an
integral heart, persons consecrated in celibacy are also a sign
of the love of God for the world and of the vocation to love God
I would also like to exhort the young delegates to discover the
grandeur and beauty of marriage: The relationship between man
and woman reflects divine love in a completely special way;
because of this the conjugal bond assumes an immense dignity.
Through the sacrament of marriage, the spouses are united by God
and with their relationship manifest the love of Christ, who
gave his life for the salvation of the world.
In a cultural context in which many persons consider marriage as
a temporal contract that can be broken, it is of vital
importance to understand that true love is faithful, definitive
gift of self. Given that Christ consecrates the love of
Christian spouses and commits himself to them, this fidelity not
only is possible, but is the way to enter into an ever greater
charity. Thus, in the daily life of the couple and of the
family, spouses learn to love as Christ loves. Necessary to
correspond to this vocation is a serious educational review and
this Forum also places itself in this perspective.
These days of formation through meetings, listening to talks and
common prayer, must also be a stimulus for all the young
delegates to be witnesses to their contemporaries of what they
have seen and heard. It is a true and authentic responsibility,
for which the Church counts on you. They have an important role
to carry out in the evangelization of young people in their
countries, so that they will respond with joy and fidelity to
Christ's commandment: "love one another as I have loved you"
Inviting youth to persevere in the path of charity in the
following of Christ, I make an appointment with them for next
Sunday in Saint Peter's Square, where the solemn celebration of
Palm Sunday and the 25th World Youth Day will take place.
This year the theme for reflection is: "Good Teacher, what must
I do to inherit eternal life?" (Mark 10:17). To this question,
posed by a rich young man, Jesus answers with a look of love and
an invitation to total self-giving for love of God. May this
meeting be able to contribute to the generous response of each
delegate to the call and gifts of the Lord!
With this aim I assure you of my prayers for all youth and I
send you, Venerated Brothers, and all those participating in the
International Forum, a heartfelt special Apostolic Blessing.
In the Vatican, March 20, 2010
BENEDICTUS PP. XVI
[Translation by ZENIT]