Pope's Address to Youth of Catholic Action

"It is God Who Can Give Us a True and Solid Peace"

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VATICAN CITY, DEC. 21, 2012 (Zenit.org).- Here is the translation of the address given by Pope Benedict XVI to the Italian youth of Catholic Action (ACR) yesterday at the Vatican Apostolic Palace.

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Dear Boys and Girls of Catholic Action,

I am happy to meet with you and to receive your greetings for the Lord’s Birth. I greet you with affection, together with your teachers, the president, Professor Franco Miano, and the assistant general, Msgr. Domenico Sigalini.

You told me that you are “in search of an author” and that this is the guiding phrase of your journey this year in ACR. Therefore, I must promptly ask you: Who is this author? Have you found him already? I am certain that, with the formators and other friends of Catholic Action, you will find an ever clearer answer to your search and you will also be able to help many others to find it. However, I would also like to say something to you. First of all, I know that you are seeking the author of life, who helps you to live well, happy with yourselves and with others. But we know who this author is: it is God, who has shown us his face. God who has created us, who has made us in his image, above all who has given us his Son Jesus, who was made a baby -- we will contemplate His son during this Holy Christmas; he grew up as a boy like you, went over the roads of our world to communicate the love of God, which renders life beautiful and happy, full of goodness and generosity.

You certainly also seek the author of your joy. If I were to ask you what gives you joy, perhaps the answer would be: games, sports, friends, and parents who live for you and love you. There are so many who make you happy, but there is a great Friend who is the author of everyone’s joy and with whom our heart is filled with a joy that surpasses all others and which lasts for the whole of life: it is Jesus. Remember, dear friends: the more you learn to know and converse with Him, the more you will feel happy in your heart and be able to overcome the little sadness that one has sometimes in one’s spirit.

Moreover, you are in search of the author of love. Can one live alone, shut-in on oneself? If you reflect a moment, you will see that the answer is a clear “no.” We all have a need to love and to know that someone accepts and loves us. It is necessary to feel loved to live, but it is likewise important to be capable of loving others, to make their life beautiful; everyone’s life, also that of your contemporaries who are in difficult situations. Jesus has made us see, with his life, that God loves everyone without distinctions and wants everyone to live happily. Therefore, I am pleased with this initiative of yours in the month of January to support a project in Egypt of concrete aid to street children.

In conclusion, you surely seek the author of peace, of which the world is in such need. Often men think they can build peace on their own, but it is important to understand that it is God who can give us a true and solid peace. If we are able to listen to Him, if we make room for Him in our life, God dissolves the selfishness that often pollutes relations between persons and between nations and makes desires of reconciliation, of forgiveness and of peace arise, even in one who has a hardened heart.

Dear boys and girls of ACR, I hope you will undertake this search together, among yourselves and with your companions of school and sports. If you help one another to seek the great Author of life, of joy, of love, of peace, you will discover that this Author is never far from you; rather, He is very close: He is the God who became a baby in Jesus!

Dear friends, I wish you and the whole of Catholic Action a Happy Christmas!