Let us not let our lives pass in vain
Fr Ireneusz Skubis
On Saturday, 2 June 2007, young people meet at the 11th National Appeal of the Millennium in Lednica, which has become a tradition but experienced in a new and extremely attractive way. They meet at the relics of St Wojciech (St Adalbert) and St Jack - this year we are celebrating the 750th anniversary of his death - and together with their chaplain Fr Jan Gora, OP, they want to tell the world about their adherence to Lord Jesus and get strengthen in faith to be wonderful apostles. We all know the rich programme of the celebration, but I think that it will be worth reflecting on young people and on youth based on the words of Pope Benedict XVI directed several thousand young people he met at 'Paulo Machado de Carvalho' stadium in Sao Paolo, Brazil. Benedict XVI's speech refers to the teaching of John Paul II, who loved young people very much and expressed his love in many messages for the World Youth Days, but first of all in his deep and excellent study 'Milosc i opowiedzialnosc' [Love and Responsibility], which he wrote when he stayed in Krakow. Generally speaking, we can summarise the message of Benedict XVI's as follows: the Church needs young people to show Jesus Christ to the world. Analysing the passage of St Matthew concerning a man who approached Jesus and asked, 'What good deed must I do to possess eternal life?' (cf. Matthew 19:16-22) Benedict XVI emphasizes that the Church needs natural patience and dynamics, which characterize young people since 'We can never say "enough", because the love of God is infinite, and the Lord asks us-or better-requires us to open our hearts wider so that there will be room for even more love, goodness, and understanding.' Reflecting the man's question from the Gospel of Matthew the Pope notices that the question does not only refer to what happens after death. 'On the contrary, it exists as a task in the present, in the "here" and "now", which must guarantee authenticity and consequently the future.' The question concerns the issue of life's meaning: what must I do so that my life is not wasted? 'Jesus alone can give us the answer, because he alone can guarantee us eternal life. He alone, therefore, can show us the meaning of this present life and give it fullness', the Holy Father says. He encourages us to see God in all things and in everything that happens, to see all the good that exists in the world because God continually fills us with joy and good things. His joy is our strength. Benedict XVI stresses the words of Jesus, 'If you would enter life, keep the commandments'. Whoever keeps the commandments is on the way that leads to God. 'We are, so to speak, the work of our own hands.' 'Yet it is only one life, it is unique: do not let it pass it vain; do not squander it.' However, The young man in the Gospel understood that his youth was itself a treasure. 'At the moment of the great decision, however, he lacked the courage to wager everything on Jesus Christ. In consequence, he went away sad and downcast. This is what happens whenever our decisions waver and become cowardly and self-seeking. The Apostles, like all of you here today, filled the vacuum left by that young man who went away sad and downcast.' The Pope encourages young people - this is exactly what Lednica is about - to be apostles of Jesus, to witness to him with their lives. 'They, and we, are happy, because we know the one in whom we believe. We know and we bear witness with our lives that he alone has the words of eternal life.'
The Holy Father encourages people who follow various paths of life: those who have chosen marriage, consecrated persons, who have given themselves totally to God and those who have led lonely lives. He ensures them Jesus' help; that he grants us his graces whenever we ask. 'Live it with enthusiasm and with joy, but most of all, with a sense of responsibility', the Holy Father appeals. Benedict XVI's message to the young people of Brazil is extremely important to us, gathered in Lednica. Take it to heart.