20-July-2008 -- ZENIT.org News Agency |

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Pope: Holy Spirit Is Silent Guide Toward Unity, Urges Youth to Believe in the Power of the Spirit

SYDNEY, Australia, JULY 19, 2008 (Zenit.org).- Although it's not easy to understand the role of the Holy Spirit in one's life, Benedict XVI says one can be certain that the Spirit is the silent and hidden guide toward unity and reconciliation.

The Pope said this at the World Youth Day vigil Saturday night at the Randwick Racecourse in Sydney. Giovanni Maria Vian, director de L'Osservatore Romano, said the discourse of the Holy Father was "one of the most beautiful texts of his pontificate."

The Pontiff said the words of Christ taken as the theme of World Youth Day 2008 -- "You Will Receive Power When the Holy Spirit Has Come Upon You and You Will be My Witnessesö -- "were the very last words which Jesus spoke before his Ascension into heaven."

"How the Apostles felt upon hearing them, we can only imagine," said Benedict XVI. "But we do know that their deep love for Jesus, and their trust in his word, prompted them to gather and to wait; to wait not aimlessly, but together, united in prayer, with the women and Mary in the Upper Room.

"Tonight, we do the same. Gathered before our much-traveled cross and the icon of Mary, and under the magnificent constellation of the Southern Cross, we pray."

The Pontiff said that he was praying for the youth of the world: "Accept into your hearts and minds the sevenfold gift of the Holy Spirit! Recognize and believe in the power of the Spirit in your lives!"

Silent and unseen

The Pope said it's not easy to "understand the person of the Holy Spirit and his vivifying presence in our lives."

"Indeed," he said, "the variety of images found in Scripture referring to the Spirit -- wind, fire, breath -- indicate our struggle to articulate an understanding of him.

"Yet we do know that it is the Holy Spirit who, though silent and unseen, gives direction and definition to our witness to Jesus Christ."

The world, Benedict XVI said, is "in many ways is fragile." He said it is "weakened by wounds which run particularly deep when social relations break apart, or when the human spirit is all but crushed through the exploitation and abuse of persons."

He continued: "Society today is being fragmented by a way of thinking that is inherently shortsighted, because it disregards the full horizon of truth -- the truth about God and about us.

"By its nature, relativism fails to see the whole picture. It ignores the very principles which enable us to live and flourish in unity, order and harmony."

The answer to this fragmentation is unity, but the Pope reminded the pilgrims that "unity and reconciliation cannot be achieved through our efforts alone. [...] Only in God and his Church can we find the unity we seek."

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