MANILA, July 28, 2013—A high-ranking church official in the country called on young Filipinos on Sunday to come closer to Christ through prayer, saying that the act of talking to Him converts the desires of people and signifies the Lord’s unceasing presence in the life of His children.
In his closing mass during the local World Youth Day celebration held at Don Bosco Technical Institute in Makati, Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle urged the Filipino youth to establish a stronger connection with Christ through fervently communicating with Him.
“Prayer is a relationship with God that changes the desires of the human heart with the desires of Jesus. When we learn to pray just like how Christ taught us, our hearts will seek what Christ is seeking,” he said.
Addressing nearly 4,000 delegates, Tagle said that the youth must make it a habit to seek Christ so they may do the same to their future families, noting that a family built on a strong foundation of faith is the greatest gift that can be given to the future generation.
“The time will come that you will have no one to run to except the Lord. While you are still young, make it a habit to approach Christ. Make this a habit so when the time comes that you already have your own families, you would also bring them to the Lord,” he said.
“Bring your future families closer to Christ. Bring your fears and worries to the Lord. The faith that makes us turn to God because He is loving, because He is truly a parent—that is our gift to the next generation,” he added.
Tagle urged the youth to always include Christ in their lives, noting that His unceasing presence nourishes people in times of misery and despair.
“You should not forget Christ. You can always come to Him whenever, whoever you are, and whatever circumstances you have in life,” he said. “Learn how to pray and constantly ask Jesus to teach you to purify your heart.”
He reminded the youth of the call of Pope Francis not to get tired of praying and approaching the Lord.
“You, young people, do not hesitate to approach God. He is loving, he is our father. More than the love that the parenthood of other people can give you, only God can [give this kind of love to you],” Tagle said.
Not for memorization
He challenged the youth to understand the importance of prayer and use it as a means to become closer to Christ.
“Do you ask Jesus to teach you how to pray? To teach you how you can effectively communicate with the Lord?” he said.
He stressed that the Lord’s Prayer is not simply a set of words to memorize, but are words meant to teach us what our hearts should long for.
“Christ taught us the Lord’s Prayer, but do you really understand His teachings behind its words? What He taught is not simply a formula to be memorized, rather those are words that tell what your heart should really desire,” he said.
“That is prayer. Jesus taught us how to pray. Jesus taught our hearts what to desire,” Tagle said, urging people to take the prayer into their hearts.
Youth will fade
Tagle recognized the importance of one’s youthful days, noting that this stage defines how the future of an individual is bound to unfold.
“Who and what we are now, a big part of it is who we were before. Thanks to our youthful days that were centered in Christ. Thanks to this stage in our lives when we desire Jesus, we desire God, and we desire to give service to others,” he said.
However, he reminded people that youth is a stage that fades away, adding that they must seize every opportunity to maximize the stage and unleash their fullest potential as individuals.
“Young ones, your zeal and vigor will soon subside. As you age, it will become harder for you to do the things you easily did back in your youthful days,” Tagle said.
With all things rapidly fading away, only one thing remains sure—God is always with His people and He never abandons them, the prelate said.
“The Lord is always present within us. We just have to approach Him. That is one certain reality in our lives,” he said. “No one will feel alone, even in sickness and in the coming of death, we will never be alone.” (Jennifer M. Orillaza)