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Apostolic nuncio urges youth to be ‘salt of the earth’

By Deborah Gyapong
Canadian Catholic News


MONTREAL (CCN) — Canada’s apostolic nuncio urged more than 700 young people gathered at St. Joseph’s Oratory in Montreal Dec. 30 to be “pregnant with God” so others might be awakened to love in Christ.

“In the horizon of many of our contemporaries, today, God has somehow disappeared, is absent,” Archbishop Luigi Bonazzi told university students from across Canada gathered for Catholic Christian Outreach’s (CCO) annual Rise Up conference.

More than that, the absence of God is no longer “perceived as a problem,” and “brings for the night with its accompanying darkness,” the nuncio said.

“And precisely because the meaning of pain is no longer understood, we escape from it and have arrived at the point of presenting as an act of dignity and compassion to administer death to someone, in order to spare them from suffering,” Bonazzi said. “The way to learn how to love has been lost and, consequently, the true meaning of love.”

“This is the context in which, as disciples of Jesus, you are called to live and witness your faith,” the nuncio said.

He urged the young people present to purify themselves and draw close to God so they can bring God to others.

“In other words, the kingdom of God is God himself who builds it and only those who receive God can give God,” he said. “This is precisely the gift given to us in the mystery of Christmas and which is renewed in every eucharist: we receive God and so can give him. We become capable of living the highest human experience, the highest human activity: by God’s grace, to bring forth God!”

Quoting third century church father Origin of Alexandria, who compared a Christian to a pregnant woman who carries new life within her, Bonazzi said the “Christian is one who walks in the world ‘pregnant with God.’ ”

The Christian carries “another life in his life, learning to breathe with the breath of God, to feel with the mind of Christ, as if he had two hearts, his own and another with a stronger beat that will never be extinguished,” he said. “In this very moment, again, God is looking for mothers in order to take flesh.”

“Dear young people, you are called to be mothers and fathers who carry God,” he said.

The nuncio said it is Christ himself, the Word of God, who abides in us, makes us strong and calls us to be “salt of the earth.”

“Yes, in this world full of great lights and frightening shadows, rich in extraordinary potentialities and threatened by serious dangers, you are called to be evangelical salt,” he said.

He noted the call to be salt of the earth is conjugated in the plural, emphasizing the importance of living and acting “in unity,” he said. “Alone we can do nothing; we are inevitably destined to lose taste and to be thrown outside.”

It is “within the church that the Spirit divinizes us,” he said. “Having become church, you will act always in the ‘plural,’ that is to say as a ‘we-communion,’ even when you act ‘singly’: in this way, with the grace of unity given by the Lord among you, you will be able to fulfil the plan of God, to overcome the great challenges of the world and to meet the deepest yearnings of people.”

“It is of little importance if, as ‘salt-church,’ you are few in number compared to the multitude waiting to be seasoned: it is enough that you are authentic, rich in Divine strength: indeed, in the kingdom of God, what matters is not the quantity of what we do but the spiritual density of what we are,” Bonazzi said. “In addition, to perform in the world your mission to be ‘salt-church,’ you must know how to dilute yourselves within the circles you frequent: if you remain within compact but isolated cliques, your action will serve little to foster and promote the work of the new evangelization.”

“It is necessary, first of all, to draw close to our contemporaries, and then share with them,” he said. “To draw close does not mean losing one’s own identity or downplaying it, but having the courage to embrace — with love and without complicity with evil — the situations we encounter, changing them from within, following the example of Jesus.”

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