From Spero News
By Asia News
It was the "brutality" of Nazism, of this "anti-human culture" that helped the young Joseph Ratzinger discover his vocation for the priesthood. "It confirmed to me that the Gospel shows us the right road, that we must help so that its road will triumph", said Benedict XVI. He was responding to one of the questions put to him by five youth of the diocese of Rome, who took part in a meeting to prepare for the upcoming World Youth Day.
A vocation that grew with the "beauty of the liturgy" and with "love of knowledge", that is, with theology.
Replying to a question about his vocation, the Pope said: "I grew up in a world very different to the present one, but at the end, things come together. At the time, on the one hand, it was still normal to go to church and to accept the Revelation; on the other, there was the Nazi regime that was telling me the new Germany would no longer need priests. But it was precisely this clash with the brutality of this system, of this anti-human culture, that confirmed to me that the Gospel shows us the right way, that we must help so that its road will triumph. My vocation grew almost naturally with me, without great conversion moments. Helped by my parents and by the parish priest, I discovered the beauty of the liturgy which, in a certain sense, opens up the heavens.
"In the second place, I was helped by the beauty of knowledge, understanding the Sacred Scripture as much as possible, entering in this Dialogue with God that is theology. Naturally, difficulties could not but be present, I asked myself if I would be able to live in celibacy for all my life, and I was aware that loving theology was not enough to be a good priest; one also needed to be always available for sick people, the poor and youth. To be simple with the simple. I asked myself if I would be capable of living all this. I was helped by the company of friends and good priests.
There was a spontaneous festive atmosphere in a meeting that swiftly turned into a celebration, with at least 30,000 Roman youth present. However there were also flags of Poland, Czech Republic and Mexico waving among the crowd in St Peter's Square, around Benedict XVI. A meeting that re-evoked memories of John Paul II, who came up with the idea of World Youth Day and who gave youth, in the now-distant 1984, the cross that the youth today carried inside the basilica, going to pay homage at the tomb of Wojtyla with Benedict XVI.
Choirs, dance and music welcomed Benedict XVI into the square, as did the words of Maddalena Santoro, the sister of Fr Andrea, who read some writings of the murdered priest, including: "I feel I am a priest for all, because they are sons loved by God: God loves Jews, he loves Christians, he loves Muslims." The pope embraced her and Fr Andrea's mother, Maria.
The questions posed by youth inevitably included one about the family, marriage and sexuality, asked to the Pope by Anna, aged 19 years.
His reply was that loving was often understood to be something egotistical, that consumeristic culture had emptied of meaning, whereas it was really letting go of oneself and therefore self-discovery. In the Bible itself, right after creation, "the sacred author gives a definition of marriage, following the other, so as to become a sole existence, flesh born of communion of love that unites and thus creates the future."
With time, all cultures became stained by the mistakes of mankind and thus the original plan of God was obscured, even if man could never completely forget or wipe it out. Thus it is with monogamy. Thus, marriage and affection become possible even if they appear impossible in the climate of our world. Notwithstanding all other models of life, there are many Christian families living with joy, according to the model indicated by the creator, We know that to achieve great success, in sport for example, training, discipline and renunciation are called for. This is how it is with life too: becoming men demands renunciation that is not negative, but which helps us become truly men, and if there is a consumeristic culture that does not want us to live according to God's plan, we must create islands of Catholic culture, in which to live according to the creator's plan.
And to the question "what is expected of us", Benedict XVI replied: "Making God present in society".