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Pope's general prayer intention for July 2013

Vatican City, 28 June 2013: Pope’s General Prayer Intention for the month of July 2013 - that World Youth Day in Brazil may encourage all young Christians to become disciples and missionaries of the Gospel.

The beginnings of the World Youth Days (WYD) go back to 1984, when John Paul II invited the young people of the world to take part in the International Youth Jubilee. In 1986 the Pope established the WYD, calling together the first for the year 1987. Since then they have all been important events for thousands of young people to deepen their faith and discover their vocation to evangelisation. Once more the Pope invites us to pray for the next World Youth Day, which is to take place in 2013 in Rio de Janeiro. The intention is clear: that the WYD may encourage young people to become disciples and missionaries of the gospel.

To pray, then, that the World Youth Day may encourage all young Christians to become disciples and missionaries of the gospel is to pray that the Holy Spirit may arouse in them deep loyalty to Christ and his message. Only someone who is passionate about Jesus and his gospel can be a disciple and a missionary. We know that this passion and this deep loyalty do not have their deepest source in one’s own will, nor in the knowledge that we may acquire about the person of Jesus and his gospel, even though that is all necessary. Deep, true loyalty to the person of Christ and his gospel come, in the last resort, from the Holy Spirit’s action in our hearts. ‘The soul’s sweet guest’ as the hymn says, is the one who can shake us out of the tangled nets that our egoism unfolds before us, urging us to seek personal pleasure above all, or to secure the future with titles, money, relationships and so many other things that lead to self-fulfilment, as if that were the ultimate meaning of life.

The Holy Spirit, the Paraclete (Advocate) is the one who can make us realise that Christ is the real meaning for our lives. Only God saves! Only God can make us fall in love with Christ and his gospel. Our job is to ask for and to receive the Spirit who wants to bring new life to our hearts.

St. Augustine reminds us that prayer prepares us to receive the gifts that God offers us: “… our God and Lord does not ask us to reveal our desires to him, because he, certainly, cannot be unaware of them, but he asks that, through prayer, our capacity to desire may grow, so that in that way we may make ourselves more able to receive the gifts that he is preparing for us.’ (Letters to Proba, letters 130, 8, 15,CSEL 44, 56-67)

The Pope asks our prayers that the World Youth Day may be a special opportunity, a favourable space, fertile soil, to receive the Holy Spirit, who is offering himself to all young Christians. Let us pray that young people’s desire to know and love Jesus may grow more intense, so that the strength from on high may animate them to be disciples of Christ and missionaries of his gospel. Source: VR Sedoc


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