Pope invites youth to say 'Yes!' to God

VATICAN CITY, DEC 14, 2007 (VIS) - Yesterday evening following a Eucharistic celebration for Roman university students, celebrated in the Vatican Basilica and presided by Cardinal Camillo Ruini, vicar general for the diocese of Rome, the Pope arrived in the basilica to greet the young people gathered there.

In his remarks to them, the Holy Father reflected on two themes: the spiritual formation of the young, and his own recent Encyclical "Spe salvi."

He began by recalling how 150 university students from the diocese of Rome have decided to receive the Sacrament of Confirmation on the eve of Pentecost next year. Addressing them and the other young people present, the Pope invited them "to turn their gaze to the Virgin Mary. From her 'yes' you should learn to pronounce your own 'yes' to the divine call. The Holy Spirit enters our lives in the extent to which we open our hearts with our 'yes.' The fuller that 'yes' is, the fuller is the gift of His presence."

Referring to his Encyclical on Christian hope, Benedict invited his listeners to reflect upon and consider, individually and as a group, the section dedicated to hope in the modern age.

The Pope continued: "In the seventeenth century Europe went through an epoch-making change. Since then a mentality has become ever more widespread according to which human progress is the work of science and technology, while faith concerns only the salvation of the soul.

"The two great concepts of modernity - reason and freedom - have been, so to say, 'disengaged' from God," the Holy Father added. They have "become autonomous and work together in the construction of the 'kingdom of man,' which in practice contrasts with the Kingdom of God. Hence the spread of materialist ideas, nourished by the hope that, by changing economic and political structures, it will finally be possible to achieve a just society in which peace, freedom and equality reign.

"This process," the Pope concluded, "which is not without its merits and its historical causes, contains, however, a basic error: man is not just the result of certain economic and social conditions; technological progress does not correspond to the moral development of mankind. In fact without ethical principles science and technology can be used - as has happened and unfortunately still does happen - not for the good but to the detriment of individuals and humanity."

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