By embracing and passing on God's love, Mexican youth can shape their country's future for the better, Pope Benedict XVI told children gathered in León's Plaza de Paz on March 24.
“God wants us to be happy always. He knows us and he loves us. If we allow the love of Christ to change our heart, then we can change the world. This is the secret of authentic happiness,” the Pope said in the evening message, delivered to a crowd of thousands gathered since the early morning.
Christ's Gospel, he told them, remains the key to a future “without jealousies and divisions.”
“The disciple of Jesus does not respond to evil with evil, but is always an instrument of good instead, a herald of pardon, a bearer of happiness, a servant of unity,” the Pope explained.
God, he said, “wishes to write in each of your lives a story of friendship. Hold on to him, then, as the best of friends.”
Pope Benedict said he had come to Mexico to show his affection for the faithful, each of whom “is a gift of God to Mexico and to the world.”
“Your family, the Church, your school and those who have responsibility in society must work together to ensure that you receive a better world as your inheritance, without jealousies and divisions,” he told the children.
All Mexicans were told to “protect and to care for children, so that nothing may extinguish their smile, but that they may live in peace and look to the future with confidence.”
“You, my dear young friends, are not alone,” Pope Benedict said to the children who had awaited him in the plaza.
“You can count on the help of Christ and his Church in order to live a Christian lifestyle. Participate in Sunday Mass, in catechesis, in apostolic works, looking for occasions of prayer, fraternity and charity.”
He recalled the child martyrs of Tlaxcala, Blessed Cristóbal, Antonio and Juan, who lived and died during the early evangelization of Mexico. Through their knowledge of Jesus, “they discovered that there is no greater treasure than he.”
“They were children like you, and from them we can learn that we are never too young to love and serve.”
As the time for his departure neared, the Pope spoke emotionally of his desire to remain, “to spend more time with all of you.”
“We will remain close in prayer,” he promised.
“So I invite you to pray continually, even in your homes; in this way, you will experience the happiness of speaking about God with your families.”
“Pray for everyone, and also for me,” he asked the faithful. “I will pray for all of you, so that Mexico may be a place in which everyone can live in serenity and harmony.”
“I bless all of you from my heart and I ask you to bring the affection and blessing of the Pope to your parents, brothers and sisters, and other loved ones. May the Virgin accompany you.”