MESSAGE OF JOHN PAUL II
TO THE YOUNG PEOPLE OF ROME AND LAZIO
GATHERED FOR EUCHARIST ADORATION
IN THE BASILICA OF ST JOHN LATERAN
"Adoro Te devote, latens Deitas!".
1. Dear Young People of Rome and of the Diocese of Lazio, your meeting in the Basilica of St John Lateran for Eucharistic Adoration in this year that is dedicated to it, is intended to give you an opportunity to prepare yourselves better for World Youth Day. I would like to join you in spirit and to express all my affection to you; I know that you are always close to me and never tire of praying for me. I greet you and I warmly thank you.
I greet with gratitude the Cardinal Vicar, the Bishops, priests and Religious who have accompanied you and all those who have organized this important moment of reflection and prayer.
2. "Adoro Te devote, latens Deitas!". Let us raise our eyes to Jesus in the Eucharist; let us contemplate him and repeat to him together these words written by St Thomas Aquinas that express all our faith and love: "Devoutly I adore you, hidden Deity, under these appearances concealed".
In an epoch marked by hatred, selfishness, the desire for false happiness, by the decadence of customs, the absence of father and mother figures, instability in numerous young families and by widespread frailty and hardship to which many young people fall prey, we look to you, Jesus in the Eucharist, with renewed hope. In spite of our sins we trust in your divine Mercy. We repeat to you, together with the disciples of Emmaus, "Mane nobiscum Domine!", "Stay with us, Lord!". In the Eucharist you restore to the Father all that comes from him and thus bring about a profound mystery of the justice due to the Creator on behalf of the creature. The heavenly Father has created us in his image and likeness; from him we received the gift of life, whose preciousness from conception until death we become particularly aware of when it is threatened and manipulated.
We adore you, Jesus, and we thank you, for you make truly present in the Eucharist the mystery of that unique gift you offered to the Father 2,000 years ago with your sacrifice on the Cross, a sacrifice that redeemed the whole of humanity and all creation.
3. "Adoro Te devote, latens Deitas!".
We adore you, Jesus in the Eucharist! We worship your Body and your Blood, given for us so that our sins might be forgiven: O Sacrament of the new and eternal Covenant!
While we adore you, how can we forget the many things we must do to glorify you? Yet, at the same time, how can we fail to admit that St John of the Cross was right? He used to say: "Those who are very active and think they can embrace the world with their preaching and external activities, should remember that they would be more useful to the Church and more pleasing to God, not to mention the good example they would set, were they to spend half as much time with him in prayer". Help us, Jesus, to understand that in order "to do" in your Church, also in the field of the new evangelization that is so urgently needed, we must first learn "to be", that is, to stay with you, in your sweet company, in adoration. Authentic, effective and true apostolic action can only come from intimate communion with you.
A great saint who entered the Carmel in Cologne, St Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (in the world, Edith Stein), used to like to say: "Members of the Body of Christ, enlivened by his Spirit, we offer ourselves as victims with him, for him, in him, and we join in the eternal thanksgiving".
4. "Adoro Te devote, latens Deitas!". O Jesus, we ask that you obtain for all young people present here the desire to unite themselves to you in eternal thanksgiving and to strive in this world, today and in the future, to be builders of the civilization of love.
May they place you at the centre of their lives. May they worship you and celebrate you. May they develop the habit of staying with you, O Jesus in the Eucharist! May they receive you, participating regularly in Sunday Mass and, if possible, daily Mass. May this intense and frequent participation engender in them the commitment to giving their lives freely to you who are full and true freedom.
May holy vocations to the priesthood be born: without the priesthood there is no Eucharist, the source and summit of the Church's life. May numerous vocations to the Religious life develop; may generous vocations to holiness, the high standard of ordinary Christian living, flourish particularly in families. The Church and society today are more in need of holiness than ever.
5. O Jesus in the Eucharist, to you I entrust the young people of Rome, of Lazio and of the whole world, with their sentiments, their affections and their projects. I present them to you through the hands of Mary, your Mother and ours.
Jesus, who offered yourself to the Father: love them!
Jesus, who offered yourself to the Father: heal their spiritual wounds!
Jesus, who offered yourself to the Father: help them to adore you in truth and bless them. Now and forever.
I impart my Blessing to you all with affection.
From the Vatican, 15 March 2005
JOHN PAUL II