Benedict XVI's message for World Youth Day 2008 presents the Holy Spirit to young people and the world as the "great unknown."
The Pope's message is a reflection on the theme he chose for the event to be held in Sydney, Australia, next July: "You Will Receive Power When the Holy Spirit Has Come Upon You; and You Will Be My Witnesses."
"The common thread of the spiritual preparation for the appointment in Sydney is the Holy Spirit and mission," explains the papal message, published in Italian and French by the Vatican press office.
Translations into other languages are forthcoming.
The message continues: "Therefore it is important that each one of you young people, in your communities and with your educators, reflect on this protagonist in the history of salvation which is the Holy Spirit or the Spirit of Jesus."There are many Christians for whom he remains the 'great unknown.'"
The Holy Father presents three objectives to the young people, both those who will be in Sydney and those who are unable to attend.
He invites them to "recognize the true identity of the Spirit by listening to God's word in the revelation of the Bible."
He suggests they "learn about his continuous and active presence in the life of the Church, in particular rediscovering that the Holy Spirit is the 'soul,' the life-giving breath of the Christian life, thanks to the Christian sacraments of initiation -- baptism, confirmation and the Eucharist."
Finally, he exhorts them to "deepen their understanding of Jesus and at the same time to implement the Gospel at the dawn of the third millennium."
The Pontiff says that preparation for Sydney should be an opportunity to "verify the quality of our faith in the Holy Spirit, to find it again if we have lost it, strengthen it if it is weakened, to savor it as a companion to our faith in the Father and the Son, Jesus Christ."
He added: "Never forget that the Church, rather, all of humanity, all that which surrounds you and what awaits you in the future, expects much from you, young people, because you have in you the supreme gift of the Father, the Spirit of Jesus."
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