St. Rose of Lima, Peru is the first canonized saint of the Western Hemisphere. As a child she wanted to become a nun but her parents opposed her and she ended up making a vow not to marry and living a single life as a lay Dominican. She turned a small hut behind her family’s house into a prayer space and dedicated her life to works of charity and of penance. St. Rose shows us that even when our desires and dreams do not turn out as we want, God will help us attain our goal of holiness in other ways. Let us pray that young people may follow the example of St. Rose and seek to follow Christ before all else. Our reflection is from Pope Benedict’s Message for this year’s World Youth Day which was celebrated in local dioceses.
If we are to experience the joy of love, we must also be generous. We cannot be content to give the minimum. We need to be fully committed in life and to pay particular attention to those in need. The world needs men and women who are competent and generous, willing to be at the service of the common good. Make every effort to study conscientiously, to develop your talents and to put them at the service of others even now. Find ways to help make society more just and humane wherever you happen to be. May your entire life be guided by a spirit of service and not by the pursuit of power, material success and money.
Speaking of generosity, I would like to mention one particular joy. It is the joy we feel when we respond to the vocation to give our whole life to the Lord. Dear young people, do not be afraid if Christ is calling you to the religious, monastic or missionary life or to the priesthood. Be assured that he fills with joy all those who respond to his invitation to leave everything to be with him and to devote themselves with undivided heart to the service of others. In the same way, God gives great joy to men and women who give themselves totally to one another in marriage in order to build a family and to be signs of Christ’s love for the Church.