This column of mine appeared today on Headline Bistro, where the full article is available:
What was Pope Benedict’s message to young people in Spain this month? Of the approximately fifteen thousand words he delivered, these unscripted ones are perhaps my favorite: “We have lived together an adventure. Strengthened by Christ, you have resisted the rain.”
The pontiff spoke these words after a flash storm forced him to pause his remarks at an outdoor prayer vigil the evening before the final Mass. Cracks of lightning and sheets of rain rapidly filled the stiflingly hot August air as pilgrims ducked for cover.
But as soon as the storm had subsided, the pope resumed and delivered these impromptu words: “I thank you for your joy and resistance. Your strength is greater than the rain. With rain the Lord has sent us many blessings. In this also, you are an example.”
This scene – complete with the unscheduled interruption of inclement weather – excellently encapsulates the pope’s core message at this year’s World Youth Day: only the rock of personal faith in Christ (lived out in the community of the Church) is capable of withstanding the perfect storm of cultural challenges confronting young people today.