· In the face of the shadows that obscure the horizon of today's world, Benedict XVI points out Christ as the way to follow and youth as protagonists in a future of hope ·
History demonstrates it: the world needs peace “at least as much as bread”, Benedict XVI said on the Solemnity of Mary Most Holy, Mother of God. For the 45th time, this year too the Pope entrusted to her his invocation for the World Day of Peace. However the world on its own cannot provide this good, precious and indispensable, “at least as much as bread”, for it is a gift of God received through Mary: Jesus. He is the true “path of peace”, a way that “can be travelled, open to all”. Yet, for this very reason, the Pope warns, it is urgent that each and every one, in accordance with their role, ultimately take responsibility for setting out to seek this peace; for safeguarding it and for teaching the new generations to do likewise. Only in this way will it be possible “to look at the future with hope”.
The Pope's prayer for the coming of a reconciled, peaceful humanity that is able to live in justice and solidarity is ceaseless. It becomes, if possible, even more intense in these days that mark the change from the old year to the new. Benedict XVI sees on the horizon shadows that obscure a world that has become ever “smaller”, because of the immense possibilities for constant contacts between different cultures and traditions that are offered by technological progress. This terrain is congenial to the young generations, open as they are to others, ready to know each other, to enter into dialogue and to understand. Nevertheless, the Pope warns, “the social reality in which they grow up” can lead youth to think and act “in the opposite way, even to be intolerant and violent”. To put them on guard against these risks and enable then to fight “depending always and solely on the power of truth and good”, a solid “education of their consciences” is necessary. Hence the urgent need to initiate young people “in knowledge of the truth, in fundamental values and virtues”, so that they may learn above all “the importance and the art of peaceful coexistence” and a capacity to address conflicts without arrogance”, but with “the inner strength to bear witness to good...with forgiveness and reconciliation”.
On Saturday afternoon, 31 December, in presiding at the Te Deum, the Pope likewise referred to the new generations “who have an especially keen sense of the present disorientation”, caused not only by the current crisis but also by so much injustice, wickedness and violence which continue to be perpetrated among humanity. But in the fabric of this humanity torn apart “bursts forth... the joyful and liberating novelty of Christ our Saviour” and “there is no more room for anxiety”. Indeed the time has come to set out anew with “the patience and perseverance”, as the Pope exhorted the faithful before the Angelus on 1 January, in the quest for justice and peace, and “to cultivate the taste for what is just and true”.
St. Peter’s Square
Feb. 18, 2020
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