Posted September 21, 2011 in The Pope's Corner:
A View to the Forever

by Pope Benedict XVI.

What must I do to inherit eternal life? asked the rich young man in the Gospel (Mk 10:17-22, Mt 19:16-22). Today it is not easy to speak about eternal life and eternal realities because the mentality of our times tells us that nothing is definitive, that everything changes, and changes very rapidly.

"Change," in many cases, has become the password, the most exalted exercise of freedom, and that is why … young people have often come to think that it is impossible to make definitive choices that would tie them down for the rest of their lives.

But is this the right way to use our freedom? Is it really true that in order to be happy we should content ourselves with small, transient joys that, once they are over, leave bitterness in the heart?… This is not true freedom nor can true happiness be reached in this way.

Not one of us is created to make provisional and revocable choices. We are created to make definitive and irrevocable decisions that give full meaning to our existence.

We see it in our lives: we would like every beautiful experience that fills us with happiness never to end. God created us with a view to the "forever."

God has placed in the heart of each one of us the seed of a life that can achieve something beautiful and great. Have the courage to make definitive decisions and to live them faithfully!

The Lord may call you to marriage, to the priesthood, to the consecrated life, to a special gift of yourself. Answer him generously.

Jesus pointed out the most important thing, the greatest treasure in life: love. To love God and to love others with one’s whole self.

The word "love"—as we know—lends itself to many interpretations and has different meanings. We need a teacher, Christ, to teach us its most authentic and profound meaning, to guide us to the source of love and life.

Love is the name of God himself. The Apostle John reminds us God is love and adds not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son and if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another (1 Jn 4:8, 10-11).

Therefore there is nothing greater for man—a mortal and limited being—than to participate in the life of God’s love.

Today we live in a cultural context that does not encourage profound and disinterested human relationships. On the contrary, it often induces us to withdraw into ourselves, into individualism, to let the selfishness that exists in us prevail….

Have the courage to choose what is essential in life. Have the courage to live and not just get by. Have the courage to answer God’s call and commit yourself to him both in your fundamental and in your daily decisions.

Excerpted and adapted from an address to youth, Turin, Italy, May 2, 2010



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