Pope Benedict: To make Christ known is the most precious gift that you can give to others
Let us be mindful of the goal of human nature and engage in helping others to see and understand that goal: everlasting life and perfect happiness in God.
Pope Benedict XVI invites the youth of the world to enter into the life of Christ and spread the saving message of the Gospel. In making Christ known, Christians give to others the most precious gift possible, for through this gift, accepted in faith, others come to share in the life of the Person of Jesus Christ, who is himself the source of all human life. Such a sacred mission is for Christians in the womb of the Church of all ages and every state of life. It is the work of the New Evangelization. At the heart of this labor of love, is the gift of making Christ known, which is in itself a participation in the divine work of the Holy Spirit, whose love seeks to heal, elevate and purify culture, society and the entire world.
The Great Commission Christ gave to his disciples (Mt. 28:19-20) has always been at the heart of the Church's mission in the world; it remains at the center of the New Evangelization directed at healing, elevating and purifying culture in the present. It is an action of the Holy Spirit in which we participate in giving the gift of truth. Ultimately, it is a gift of love from the hands of Christ whose life leads us to everlasting life through the saving Gospel, which is the "power of God for salvation to every one who has faith" (Rom 1:16).
Christian youth who reside in the womb of the Catholic Church indeed have a very special gift to give to their friends and acquaintances, to those they meet at school and in social gatherings, and to those they converse with in the electronic social media environment of the internet. It is not merely a gift, but rather it is the gift, one which itself opens the door to eternity for those who accept, listen, and assent to its message in faith by allowing it to penetrate the depths of their hearts.
That gift is not something, but rather Someone: the Person of Jesus Christ who is "the way and the truth and the life" (Jn 14:6), and who himself is the "light of the world" (Jn 8:12) through whom "all things were made" (Jn 1:3). Inviting youth to enter into the mystery of Christ as true and authentic Christian disciples, Pope Benedict articulated the supreme worth of introducing others to Christ: "To make Christ known is the most precious gift that you can give to others."
If that alone is all we take away from our Holy Father's message for World Youth Day, we shall have taken away a vast treasure. We should reflect on those words: "To make Christ known is the most precious gift that you can give to others." How often we are concerned with material gifts in order to add to the celebration of some special but temporary event. These, in every case, will soon vanish. Yet the greatest Gift we can ever give is not created but uncreated, and so cannot be taken from us nor dwindle away. This Gift, received simply by opening our hearts in humility and love to the Person of the Son of God, will dwell with us and within us forever, for it is Christ who said to the members of his Body: "behold, I am with you always, to the close of the age" (Mt 28:20).
In living our lives in the womb of the Church, in articulating the truth with love, in living as the "new creation" that we have become in virtue of the sacrament of Baptism, and in speaking with conviction of the gift of Christ the Savior and Redeemer of humankind, we participate in the Father's own salvific work of giving his Son to the world and building up the Church. Given the circumstances of contemporary culture and the dangers present in society and the world, the vital importance of participating in the will of the Father cannot be overemphasized. There is a lot at stake.
Pope Benedict quoted from Servant of God Pope Paul VIs words given to the youth at the close of Vatican II a half-century ago: "It is to you, young men and women of the world, that the Council wishes to address its final message. For it is you who are to receive the torch from the hands of your elders and to live in the world at the period of the most massive transformations ever realized in its history. It is you who, taking up the best of the example and the teaching of your parents and your teachers, will shape the society of tomorrow. You will either be saved or perish with it." The message concluded with the words: "Build with enthusiasm a better world than what we have today!" (Message to Young People, 8 December 1965).
When we look at our human history, which is salvation history, we find the overarching theme is one of God reaching out with love but for one purpose: to draw mankind into communion with himself and gift each of us, as a community, with divine love. Our destiny lies in God. It is one of eventual security, peace and everlasting happiness; it is one of unimaginable greatness in the arms of the Beloved.
When we look at the condition of the world, the state of our nation and the choices broad sections of the populace have made and are making, it is easy to become discouraged. There is a saying: Ad ...
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