Page 6, 25th July 2008

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Page 6, 25th July 2008 — Benedict leads prayer vigil under the stars
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Benedict leads prayer vigil under the stars

Set free the gifts of the Holy Spirit, the Pope urges the young World Youth Day pilgrims before Adoration on Randwick Racecourse

VIGIL WITH YOUNG PEOPLE

BY CINDY WOODEN. CNS

HUMANrI-Y seeks unity which can be found by opening up to the power of the Holy Spirit, Pope Benedict XVI said in his second address to the young World Youth Day people on Saturday evening.

Speaking to pilgrims during a prayer vigil on the evening of July 19 at Randwick Racecourse in Sydney Pope Benedict said that the human soul cried out for unity in a fragmented and divided world. In his speech he spoke of the ways in which young people could become witnesses.

"You are already well aware that our Christian witness is offered to a world which in many ways is fragile." he said. "The unity of God's creation is weakened by wounds which run particularly deep when social relations break apart, or when the human spirit is all but crushed through the exploitation and abuse of persons.

The Spirit's power to strengthen and to unify people in love is as real as the Spirit's bond of unity and love with the Father and the Son, he said.

Society, he said in his 25 minute-long address, is being fragmented by shortsighted attitudes which ignore the full horizon of truth: "the truth about God and the truth about us" By definition, relativism is incapable of showing the whole picture because it ignores the principles that "enable us to live and flourish in unity order and harmony".

But unity and reconciliation, he said, could not be achieved through human's efforts alone. but only through God and the Church.

Pope Benedict warned that the temptation to create artificial "perfect" communities in the "face of imperfections and disappointments-both individual and institutional".

The Holy Father continued: "That temptation is not new. The history of the Church includes many examples of attempts to bypass or override human weaknesses or failures in order to create a perfect unity, a spiritual utopia."

"Such attempts to con struct unity in fact undermine it. To separate the Holy Spirit from Christ present in the Church's institutional structure would compromise the unity of the Christian community, which is precisely the Spirit's gift.

"Unfortunately the temptation to `go it alone' persists. Some today portray their local community as somehow separate from the so-called institutional Church, by speaking of the former as flexible and open to the Spirit and the latter as rigid and devoid-of the Spirit."

By listening and being watchful it is possible to discern the "concordant cry of humanity" through the dissonance and division of the world, he said.

"There emerges the same human cry for recognition, for belonging for unity. Who satisfies that essential human longing to be one, to immersed in communion, to be led to truth? The Holy Spirit. This is the Spirit's role, to bring God's word to fulfilment, enriched by the Spirit's gifts you will have the power to move beyond the piecemeal, the hollow utopia, the fleeting, to offer the consistency and certainty of Christian witness," he said.

Pope Benedict told the young people at the vigil that he knows many of them have been or will be tempted to drift away from their faith, but being true to oneself means being true to the God who created each person.

"God is with us in the reality of life, not the fantasy," he said. "It is embrace, not escape that we seek."

Explaining that the Holy Spirit was in some ways the "neglected Person" of the Trinity because He is so difficult to understand, the Holy Father said that St Augustine offered insight into the Holy Spirit "as the bond of unity within the Blessed Trinity: Unity as communion, unity as abiding love, and unity as giving and gift."

Recalling St Augustine, he urged the 200,000 young people gathered at Randwick Racecourse under the constellation of the Southern Cross to "let unifying love be your measure; abiding love your challenge; selfgiving love your mission".

He finished by saying: "To be truly alive is to be transformed from within, open to the energy of God's love. In accepting the power of the Holy Spirit you too can transform your families, communities and nations. Set free the gifts! Let wisdom, courage, awe and reverence be the marks of greatness!"

During the prayer vigil, the hundreds of thousands of young people held candles and listened to some of their international contemporaries witness their faith.

Pope Benedict led Adoration and Benediction with the help of specially appointed young people who invoked the gifts of the Holy Spirit. The entire racecourse fell silent as the Holy Father knelt in front of the Blessed Sacrament in silent contemplation. Then the choir sang Tantum Ergo Sacramentum.

After Benediction, the Pope left the racecourse to rest for the final Mass the next day, but on Randwick Racecourse the Adoration tent was still peopled late into the night as pilgrims shivered in the cold dawn.




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