London saw last night, young people looking for something – not just trainers or TVs – children as young as ten were on the streets, living out the lessons learned in a culture where value is conferred on someone by the shoes, the flat-screen or the phone they own.
Here is a warning from Blessed John Paul II, who cared so much for young people, from 1984:
“Dear young people, you are under threat from the bad use of advertising techniques, which plays upon the natural tendency to avoid effort and promises the immediate satisfaction of every desire, while the consumerism that goes with it suggests that man should seek self-fulfilment especially in the enjoyment of material goods.”
Some of these ideas were visible last night in those who robbed and vandalised across the city.
Yet the meeting in Madrid will present another idea to the world: that people were not made to satisfy themselves, or to steal or destroy, but to know God and love him, only then can we see where life comes from, from loving him and our neighbour.
A pilgrimage is a journey, and along with sleeping bags, Rosaries and other gear, the pilgrim carries the worries and questions of his own time and place. Journeying to Madrid, I will now carry with me my anxieties for the youth of this country, knowing that God is the only one who can bring good out of last night’s evil, and asking him to show this generation his unique fatherly love.
Patron saints of World Youth Day: St. John of the Cross, St. Ignatius of Loyola, St. Francis Xavier, St. Isidore the Worker, St. Maria of the Head, St. Rafael Arnaiz, St. John of Avila, St. Teresa of Avila, St. Rose of Lima and Blessed John Paul II, pray for us and for England’s young people.
Of related interest:
|Way of Life for Young Catholics – Written for young Catholics who want to live their faith more deeply but are not sure what steps to take, this booklet contains practical, down-to-earth advice on many aspects of daily life.|
|You will be my Witnesses – During World Youth day 2008 in Australia, Pope Benedict not only raised challenging questions but gave the young people inspired and convincing answers rooted in Christ.|
|Union With God – St Athanasius famously said that “the Son of God became man so that we might become God”. This booklet delves into what it means for a Christian to not only have a relationship with God but become so united with Him that we take part in his divinity.|