This year,” the Holy Father begins by saying, “the theme of the World Youth Day is brought to us by an exhortation from the Letter of St Paul to the Philippians: “Rejoice in the Lord always! I say it again, rejoice!” (Phil 4:4). Joy is in fact an essential element of the Christian experience. (. . . ) And we see what a great strong attraction it has. In a world so often marked by sadness and anxiety it is an important witness to the reliability of the Christian faith.”
As he describes some of the characteristics of joy Benedict XVI underscores that “our hearts are made for joy” and that “God is the source of true joy.” He explains to young people how to find and to “preserve Christian joy in their hearts through living the Word.
His message goes on dealing with “joy and love’ which, according to Benedict XVI, are intimately linked: “Love produces joy, and joy is a form of love.” And recalling a statement of Teresa of Calcutta: “. . . God loves those who give with joy. And whoever gives joyfully gives more.”
He then goes on to discuss “the joy of conversion” and the challenge of discovering “joy in trials”. “Suffering,” says the Pope, “can be transfigured by love and be mysteriously inhabited by joy.” Here he offers two young people as models: Pier Giorgio Frassati (1901-1925) and Chiara Badano (1971-1990), quoting a letter that Chiara Badano wrote to Chiara Lubich, dated December 20, 1989 in which the young Blessed confesses “I suffer much physically, but my soul is singing”.
The text concludes with an invitation to young people to become “witnesses of joy” because, according to the Holy Father, “you cannot be happy unless others are: and so joy must be shared.”