Pope Benedict to the Mexican children
Before traveling to Cuba from 26 to 29 March, Pope Benedict XVI wanted to meet the children during his pastoral visit to Mexico, which took place from March 23 to 26. This is his speech, made on Saturday 24 March in the Plaza de la Paz, Guanajuato, capital of the similarly named Mexican State
by Pope Benedict XVI
Benedict XVI looks out from the central balcony of the Presidential Palace in Guanajuato to give a greeting and a blessing to the children [© Osservatore Romano]
I am happy to meet you and see your joyous faces that fill this beautiful square. You hold a very important place in the heart of the Pope. And at this time I want all the children of Mexico to know this, particularly those who bear the weight of the suffering, neglect, violence or hunger, which in recent months, has been felt strongly in some regions because of the drought. Thank you for this meeting of faith, for the festive presence and joy, that you have expressed with your songs. Today we are full of joy, and this is important. God wants us to be always happy. He knows us and loves us. If we let the love of Christ change our hearts, then we can change the world. This is the secret of true happiness.
This place where we meet has a name that expresses the longing in the hearts of all people: ‘Peace’, a gift that comes from on High. ‘Peace be with you’ (Jn 20, 21). These are the words of the risen Lord. We hear them in every mass, and now again they resound here with the hope that each one may become the sower and the messenger of peace for which Christ gave his life.
The disciple of Jesus does not respond to evil with evil, but rather is always as an instrument of good, herald of forgiveness, bringer of joy, servant of unity. Jesus wants to write in each of your lives a story of friendship. Have Him, then, as the best of your friends. He will never tire of telling you to love everyone always and to do good. You will listen to it, if you always have a constant relationship with Him, which will also help you in the most difficult situations.
I came so that you may feel my affection. Each one of you is a gift of God for Mexico and the world. Your family, the Church, the school and whoever has responsibility in society must work together so that you may receive as a legacy a better world, without envy or divisions.
Because of this, I wish to raise my voice inviting everyone to protect and care for children, so that their smile may never be extinguished, so that they may live in peace and look to the future with confidence.
You, my young friends, are not alone. Rely on the help of Christ and his Church to lead a Christian lifestyle. Attend Sunday Mass, catechesis, some apostolate groups, seeking places of prayer, fraternity and charity. It was so that the blesseds Cristobal, Antonio and Giovanni, the young martyrs of Tlaxcala lived who, getting to know Jesus, at the time of the first evangelization of Mexico, discovered that there is no greater treasure than Him. They were little like you, and from them we can learn that there is no age to love and serve.
I would like to spend more time with you, but I have to leave already. We will continue to remain united in prayer. I invite you, then, to pray always, also at home; thus you will experience the joy of speaking with God in the family. Pray for everyone, also for me. I will pray for you, so that Mexico may be a home where all its children live in peace and harmony. I bless you from the heart and invite you to bring the Pope’s affection and blessing to your parents and siblings, as well as all the others who are dear to you. May the Virgin accompany you. Many thanks, my little friends!
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