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Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Only by Saying "Yes" to God Does Life Acquire Meaning

6-April-2009 -- Vatican Information Service

Only by Saying "Yes" to God Does Life Aquire Meaning

VATICAN CITY, 5 APR 2009 (VIS) - Young people from all over the world, including a 7,000-strong delegation from the archdiocese of Madrid, Spain where Word Youth Day is due to be celebrated in 2011, participated in the Palm Sunday Eucharistic celebration presided by the Pope in St. Peter's Square this morning. Today also marks 24th World Youth Day, celebrated this year at a diocesan level on the theme: "We have set our hope on the living God".

Before Mass, Benedict XVI blessed the palms and olive branches by the obelisk in the square then led the procession to the altar.

In his homily the Holy Father remarked that Christ, with His death on the cross, demonstrated once again "the fundamental law of human existence: 'Those who love their life lose it, and those who hate their life in this world will keep it for eternal life'.

"Those who wish to keep their lives for themselves", he added, "to live only for themselves, to keep everything for themselves and exploit every possibility; those people lose their lives. They become empty and boring. Only by abandoning ourselves, only in the disinterested giving of 'I' in favour of 'you', only in the 'yes' to the greater life, which is of God, do our own lives become broader and greater".

"Love", Benedict XVI explained, "means the abandoning of self, the giving of self, not wishing to possess oneself but becoming free of self; not closing in on oneself (what will become of me?) but looking ahead towards others: towards God and towards the people He sends me".

"In reality, however, it is not a question of simply recognising a principle but of living its truth, the truth of the cross and the resurrection. Hence, it is not enough to make one single great decision. It is certainly important to dare to make the great fundamental decision, to dare to say the great 'yes' which the Lord asks of us at a certain moment in our lives", yet this must then be "constantly renewed in our everyday lives in which, ever and anew, we must abandon our own self and place ourselves at the disposal of others".

The Pope went on: "Sacrifice and denial are part of a just life. Those who promise a life without this ever-new gift of self, are deluding others. Without sacrifice, there can be no fulfilling life". In this context he also explained how in his own experience "the times in which I said 'yes' to a sacrifice were the greatest and most important moments of my life".

"The glory of God, His lordship, His will, these are always more important and truer than my thoughts, than my will. What is essential is ... to learn this just ordering of reality and accept it intimately, trusting in God and believing that He is doing the right thing, that His will is truth and love, that my life becomes good if I learn to adhere to this order. For us the life, death and resurrection of Jesus are the guarantee that we can truly trust God. It is in this way that His Kingdom is realised".

The cross "travels from one end of the earth to the other, from sea to sea, and we accompany it. We travel with it on its path and thus we discover our own path.

"When we touch the cross, when, indeed, we carry it, we touch the mystery of God, the mystery of Jesus Christ", the Pope added. "But we also touch the fundamental law, the basic norm of our lives: the fact that without the 'yes' to the cross, without walking in communion with Christ day after day, life can have no success".

Benedict XVI concluded his homily by again emphasising how "those who wish to keep their life for themselves lose it. Those who give their life (in the small everyday actions that are part of the great decision), those people find it. This is the truth, a demanding but beautiful and liberating truth in which, little by little, we wish to enter as the cross journeys across the continents"

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