Speeches 1982 - Murrayfield

I am happy to greet also the representative of the Jewish community in Scotland, who, by his presence here, symbolizes the deep spiritual links which bind our two religious communities so closely together (Cfr. Nostra Aetate NAE 4).

I welcome in the same way the representative of the Islamic communities in this country, and I am happy to recall the religious values we have in common, as believers in the one almighty and merciful God (Cfr. ibid.3). May he show his face to us and give us peace!




Tuesday, 1 June 1982

My dear friends and children in Jesus Christ,

1. I am delighted to be making this visit to Saint Joseph’s Hospital, Rosewell, and I have come for several reasons. First, to greet you the patients in the care of the hospital, suffering from both mental and physical handicap, and also the Sisters of Charity of Saint Vincent de Paul who administer the hospital, with the medical advisers, nursing and auxiliary staff, chaplains and voluntary workers for the handicapped in general, and the parents and families of those who are receiving this special care.

Another reason for my visit is to bear witness to the Church’s mission from Christ to care for all God’s people, especially those most in need. I am interested to know that the ancient Gaelic language of Scotland has a most telling phrase, corramaich fo chùram Dhè, which speaks of the handicapped as living under God’s protection - “God’s handicapped”. Such a sensitive description, or title, captures a whole variety of profoundly Christian insights into the meaning of life and its dignity, a life which all of us have received from the Creator and whose course we share in various ways as separate individuals. And what is more, for the baptized this is a new life of grace in and through Jesus Christ, the Saviour of the world.

2. Those who do not enjoy the fullness of what is called a normal way of life, through either mental or serious physical handicap, are often compensated in part by qualities which people often take for granted or even distort, under the influence of a materialistic society: such things as a radiant love - transparent, innocent and yearning - and the attraction of loving and selfless care. In this regard, we often find in the Gospels the refreshing example of Jesus himself, and the loving bond of affection between him and the sick or disabled: how many were his exertions for them, the great words of faith addressed to them, and his wonderful interventions on their behalf, “for power came forth from him” (Lc 6,19 cfr. Marc Lc 1,32-34). There were times when he went out of his way to identify himself with the sick and the suffering, he who was to suffer such a Passion and death himself: “I was sick and you visited me . . . As you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me” (Mt 25,36 Mt 25,40).

3. These latter words of Jesus are also a source of great consolation to all those who care for the sick and disabled: nurses and medical staff, sisters and chaplains, parents, voluntary helpers and friends. For your loving care and self-sacrifice are all too often a source of your own suffering, through tiredness, emotional and mental strain, and other such burdens. So much so that, when you identify with the handicapped in your loving and attentive service to them, you also share the accolade of Saint Paul: “In my flesh I make up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church” (Col 1,24 cfr. 2Co 1,5 2Co 12,19). And when you really feel at your lowest ebb, our Lord himself has a further and very personal message of comfort: “Come to me, all who labour and are heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Mt 11,28-30). These words of encouragement from Christ, which I pass on to you in his name, are meant also for those who are caring for the handicapped at home, and trying to give them as normal a family life as possible.

4. I know from Cardinal Gray that this Archdiocese of St Andrews and Edinburgh, as well as other Dioceses in Scotland, provides a reassuring and supportive role through special Masses and reunions for the handicapped and their helpers at regular intervals in various of Christian cooperation and service, you are admirably obeying the call to rejoice with those who rejoice and to suffer with those who suffer (Cfr. Rom Rm 12,15). This offers not only a stimulus to a truly human and humanizing disposition, but also a sign of communion that enriches both the one who gives and the one who receives.

5. No visit to Rosewell would be complete without mentioning a young woman whose holy life and final suffering gave full expression to the message from Sacred Scripture that we have reflected on this morning: the Venerable Margaret Sinclair, known later in the religious life as Sister Mary Francis of the Five Wounds, Poor Clare Colletine, who lived from 1900 until 1925. For it was to Rosewell that Margaret came on holiday with other members of her family from their home in Edinburgh. Margaret could well be described as one of God’s little ones who, through her very simplicity, was touched by God with the strength of real holiness of life, whether as a child, a young woman, an apprentice, a factory-worker, member of a Trade Union, or a professed Sister in religion. How appropriate it is then that Rosewell should be chosen for the location of the Margaret Sinclair Centre, the purpose of which is to make her inspiring example better known and to promote her Cause for Beatification. I fully appreciate the aspirations of the Catholics of Scotland, and elsewhere, for that singular event to be realized, and I know that you are praying that it may come about.

With this recollection of the Venerable Margaret Sinclair, I leave you with her inspiration. In drawing us to love and assist the handicapped, the Lord Jesus touches our lives with his strength, and finally rewards us according to his promise: “As you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me” (Mt 25,40).

Praised be Jesus Christ!




Tuesday, 1 June 1982

My brothers and sisters in Jesus Christ,

1. It is a great joy to me to have this opportunity to greet you here on this beautiful campus of Saint Andrew’s College of Education, at Bearsden, Glasgow. I wish also to express my cordial esteem to the distinguished representatives of the civil and educational authorities of Scotland here present with the staff and students of the college, their parents, clergy and religious, and associates from the schools, universities, colleges of further education, and other institutions of educational science.

Saint Andrew’s College, as I understand, has quite recently been formed from two splendid traditions of teacher-training: Notre Dame College of Education here at Bearsden and Dowanhill, Glasgow, and Craiglockhart College of Education in Edinburgh. As a national college now, it enjoys the same patron as Scotland itself, the Apostle Saint Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter, with whom the momentous invitation was received from the Lord almost two thousand years ago: “Come, follow me and I will make you become fishers of men” (Marc. 1, 17).

Today, the Successor of Saint Peter finds himself in the gracious company of the spiritual sons and daughters of Andrew, here in your beautiful Scotland. And although I too am a “man from a far country”, I am not unaware of the rich heritage of Scotland and of this great City of Glasgow and the surrounding region of Strathclyde. Glasgow, the city of Saint Kentigern or Mungo (the good man) whom history regards as its first bishop, dates from as early as the sixth century. A city whose famous mediaeval University has emblazoned on its arms the words of Christ himself - “Via, Veritas, Vita” - of him who is truly “the way, the truth and the life” (Jn 14,16).

This most pleasant venue causes us to reflect on the importance long given in Scotland to the promotion of sound education, and to consider the implications of this for the present and immediate future.

2. To mention only a few of the achievements of the past, one thinks of the contribution of Saint Margaret in the eleventh century, that gifted queen and patroness of Scotland; the founding of the Universities of Saint Andrews, Glasgow and Aberdeen (King’s College) in the fifteenth century; the choir of “sang schull” and the grammar schools of the same period; and the subsequent parish schools throughout the land, where the “Dominie” or master gave every encouragement to the “lad o’ pairts”. Not only did Scotland’s sons and daughters eventually bring education to the distant countries of the Commonwealth, but so also have not a few leaders of developing countries been trained in your ancient Universities, including Edinburgh, and your more recent foundations like Strathclyde, Stirling and Glasgow. One notes in particular the longstanding concern of the established Church of Scotland for suitable educational provision at all levels, and we rejoice in its Committees’ increasing collaboration with the Catholic Church, not least in the field of Religious Education.

Worthy of special mention, I feel, are the statutory provisions of the Education (Scotland) Act of 1918, whereby Catholic schools are a constituent part of the State system, with essential guarantees covering Religious Education and the appointment of teachers. In this context, I wish to pay tribute to the Religious and lay-teachers whose dedication paved the way for this system, not forgetting the vision of the civil and ecclesiastical authorities who brought it about, as also their patient discretion in implementing it.

While Catholic teachers and their confreres can take just pride in past achievements, I am sure their realism is no less than that of Thomas Reid and the Scottish “Common Sense” School of philosophy; for common sense alone would exclude any temptation to complacency, not least in view of rapid developments in the social and economic order.

Obviously any sound educational philosophy would have to take all this into account.

3. It would seem to be the case that in modern times the success of a particular educational programme or system has been measured, to a large extent, by the recognized qualification it provided with a view to some career prospect. This would appear to be felt most in the Secondary sector of education, where direction for future prospects is crucial. Hence the emphasis, until now, on a Certificate-orientated curriculum, with the Certificate seen as the virtual guarantee of career expectations.

Such an outlook has tended to encourage an “outward” trend in education - not itself a bad thing, but a certain balance or perspective has been missing: the perspective of the whole person, his inner self as well as his outer prospects.

But nowadays, as we have been made only too aware, the possession of a certificate does not bring automatic employment. Indeed, this harsh reality has brought about not only deep frustration among young people, many of whom have worked so hard, but also a sense of malaise in the educational system itself. Hence the question: what has gone wrong? What has specialization achieved in our day - in real terms, in terms of life? Wherein lies the remedy?

4. Perhaps we could reflect on the philosophy behind education: education as the completing of the person. To be educated is to be more fitted for life; to have a greater capacity for appreciating what life is, what it has to offer, and what the person has to offer in return to the wider society of man. Thus, if we would apply our modern educational skills and resources to this philosophy, we might succeed in offering something of lasting value to our pupils and students, an antidote to often immediate prospects of frustration and boredom, not to mention the uncertainty of the long-term future.

I am given to understand that educationists and educational authorities in Scotland have already come to terms with this problem and are giving due emphasis to education as development of the whole person; not only intellectual ability, but also emotional, physical and social development. These integral aspects are, I believe, an ever recurring theme in various official Reports. So what I have to say this morning is by way of moral support and encouragement for the continuing work of implementing these recommendations at every level in the school sector, both Primary and Secondary. I appreciate too that this task of educational development is itself hindered by serious economic factors that impinge very much on staffing provision and material resources. But one cannot but recognize, and welcome, the encouraging factors evidenced by the educational developments themselves.

First and foremost must surely be the increasing involvement of parents, especially in the Primary and Secondary sectors, and also, if to a lesser extent, in the Tertiary sector. In some ways, this has been realized through the structures of Parent/Teacher Associations or similar bodies; the concept of community schools; the opening of school library and leisure facilities to parents; and through this, the wonderful opportunity for Adult or Continuing Education - towards the full development of the person and his or her God-given potential.

It is only right that parents should be more involved in educational structures. For are not parents, in the sight of God, the primary educators of their children? Such a basic principle was underscored by the Second Vatican Council, in particular in the Declaration on Christian Education: “Since it is the parents who have given life to their children, it is they who have the serious obligation of educating their offspring. Hence parents must be recognized as the first and foremost educators of their children” (Gravissimum Educationis GE 3).

The promotion of this “integrated, personal and social” education is also, we need hardly mention, the necessary and complementary role of the school. And here, in the day-to-day progress towards objectives, are to be found real elements of encouragement too.

In realizing that consideration for the “whole person” involves his spiritual dimension, one notes that the Scottish education authorities, apart from already approving courses and qualifications for specialist teachers in Religious Education, are giving serious attention to other provisions like national examinations and the services of Her Majesty’s Inspectorate. And it is especially heartening to learn that the Education Committee of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland and the Roman Catholic Education Commission have undertaken a united approach regarding important aspects of this deliberation.

5. The issues focused on above, especially the development of the whole person, the spiritual dimension of education, and the involvement of parents, have always been central to the ethos of the Catholic school.This has been particularly true of the Primary school, with the close bond between the family, school, parish and local community. Nor has this been absent in the more complex situation of the Secondary sector, where the Diocese often provides Chaplains, above all for the school as a community of faith centred on the Eucharist and also, where possible, to serve as a pastoral link with the local parishes. However, always mindful of the constant need for improvement, the Catholic school ought to make full use of suitable new opportunities available, for no other reason than to fulfil its own identity and role. And we do well at this point to recollect what precisely is the identity and purpose of the Catholic school.

Such a reminder is conveniently provided in the document of that title, “The Catholic School”, published by the Holy See’s Sacred Congregation for Christian Education in March 1977: “The Catholic school”, it declares, “is committed . . . to the development of the whole man, since in Christ, the Perfect Man, all human values find their fulfilment and unity. Herein lies the specifically Catholic character of the school. Its duty to cultivate human values in their own legitimate right in accordance with its particular mission to serve all men has its origin in the figure of Christ . . . Its task is fundamentally a synthesis of culture and faith, and a synthesis of faith and life” (The Catholic School, 35-37).

Implicit throughout these terms of reference for the Catholic school is the imperative of Christian commitment on the part of its teachers. The Catholic school “must be a community whose aim is the transmission of values for living. Its work is seen as promoting a faith-relationship with Christ in whom all values find fulfilment. But faith is principally assimilated through contact with people whose daily life bears witness to it” (Ibid. 53).

In reflecting on the value of Catholic schools and the importance of Catholic teachers and educators, it is necessary to stress the central point of Catholic education itself. Catholic education is above all a question of communicating Christ, of helping to form Christ in the lives of others. Those who have been baptized must be trained to live the newness of Christian life in justice and in the holiness of truth. The cause of Catholic education is the cause of Jesus Christ and of his Gospel at the service of man.

Nor must we ignore the integrity of the catechetical message as taught: “The person who becomes a disciple of Christ has the right to recieve ‘the word of faith’ (Rm 10,8) not in mutilated, falsified or diminished form but whole and entire . . . Thus no true catechist can lawfully, on his own initiative, make a selection of what he considers important in the deposit of faith as opposed to what he considers unimportant, so as to teach the one and reject the other . . . The method and language used must truly be means for communicating the whole and not just part of ‘the words of eternal life’ (Jn 6,68 cfr. Act Jn 5,20 Jn 7,38) and the ‘ways of life (Ps 16, 11, cit. in Act. 2, 28)’ (IOANNIS PAULI PP. II Catechesi Tradendae CTR 30-31)”.

6. Whereas most of my address has centred on the crucial area of the school, with obvious implications for teacher-training, I would hope that those here present from the Universities would recognize, with this former university professor, the relevance of the school for the university: not merely as a recruiting-ground for students, but as an essential part of the continuing process of education.

As for the university itself, I would simply like to mention some points I have had occasion to make on this topic, to the General Conference of UNESCO, to various university groups in Rome, and in Bologna only last April. I feel that the last mentioned is particularly appropriate, since I am told that it was the University of Bologna which provided the ancient Scottish universities with significant elements of their splendid tradition.

From its very origins and by reason of its institution, the purpose of the university is the acquiring of a scientific knowledge of the truth, of the whole truth. Thus it constitutes one of the fundamental means which man has devised to meet his need for knowledge. But, as the Second Vatican Council observed, “Today it is more difficult than it once was to synthesize the various disciplines of knowledge and the arts. While, indeed, the volume and the diversity of the elements which make up culture increase, at the same time the capacity of individual men to perceive them and to blend them organically decreases, so that the image of universal man becomes even more faint” (Gaudium et Spes GS 61). Any interpretation of knowledge and culture, therefore, which ignores or even belittles the spiritual element of man, his aspirations to the fullness of being, his thirst for truth and the absolute, the questions that he asks himself before the enigmas of sorrow and death, cannot be said to satisfy his deepest and most authentic needs. And since it is the university that young people experience the high point of their formation education, they should be able to find answers not only about the legitimacy and finality of science but also about higher moral and spiritual values - answers that will restore their confidence in the potential of knowledge gained and the exercise of reason, for their own good and for that of society.

7. By way of summing-up, I would like to repeat what I wrote last November in the Apostolic Exhortation on the Family in the Modern World: “It becomes necessary, therefore, on the part of all, to recover an awareness of the primacy of moral values, which are the values of the human person as such. The great task that has to be faced today for the renewal of society is that of recapturing the ultimate meaning of life and its fundamental values” (IOANNIS PAULI PP. II Familiaris Consortio FC 8).

And as Christians we believe that the ultimate meaning of life and its fundamental values are indeed revealed in Jesus Christ. It is he - Jesus Christ, true God and true man - who says to us: “You call me Teacher and Lord; and you are right, for so I am” (Jn 13,13-14).




Tuesday, 1 June 1982

Dear Brothers in the Episcopate,

1. We have assembled this evening in the name of Jesus Christ, who is “the Shepherd and Bishop” of our souls (1 Petr. 2, 25), “the chief Shepherd” of the flock (Ibid. 5, 14).

We are here to reflect on our episcopal ministry and to offer it to the Father through Christ our Lord, in whose name we exercise it. There are certainly many factors that affect our ministry and call for our response as leaders of God’s people. And we have so many of these factors very much before our eyes at this time, when preoccupation for peace and reconciliation is so paramount in our minds. On such an occasion as this we perceive many obligations incumbent on us, precisely because we have been charged with “the ministry of reconciliation” (2Co 5,18), precisely because we are called to preach a Gospel of peace.

2. But basic to the whole identity of a Bishop is the fact that he is meant to be the living sign of Jesus Christ. “In the Bishops,” states the Second Vatican Council, “our Lord Jesus Christ, the supreme High Priest is present in the midst of those who believe” (Lumen Gentium LG 21).

3. This basic truth gives us a deep insight into ourselves and our need for holiness of life. The supernatural effectiveness of our ministry is linked in so many ways to our degree of holiness - to the degree in which we are configured to Christ by charity and grace. For this reason we should accept Saint Paul’s invitation as being directed mainly to ourselves: “Put on the new nature, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness” (Ep 4,24).

Like Jesus we are called to preach conversion, to echo the words that he proclaimed so early in his public ministry: “Repent, and believe in the Gospel” (Marc. 1, 14). But here too our effectiveness depends on our openness to grace; we ourselves are meant to experience the conversion that we proclaim. Holiness therefore becomes for us, as I mentioned to another group of Bishops on another occasion, “the first priority in our lives and in our ministry” (AAS 71 (1979) 1220).

4. There is no doubt about it: our fidelity to the love of Jesus and our friendship with him are essential for all the apostolic works that are part of our daily lives. This fidelity to love, this friendship with the Christ whose Kingdom we proclaim must be nourished by our own prayer life. Only union with Christ makes it possible for us to be effective ministers of the Gospel. Let us remember the words of Jesus: “He who abides in me, and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit” (Jn 15,5).

5. As Bishops we are asked to meditate on the holiness of Christ. Indeed our people ask us for more than this: they want, and they need, the witness of a prophetic anticipation of the holiness to which we invite them. They ask us to be their leaders in holiness, to trace out clearly for them the path for following Christ.

And so we must be, in the expression of Saint Peter, “examples to the flock” (1 Petr. 5, 3) - in leading the way in saying yes to God, yes to others, yes to the highest ideals of Christian life.

6. While the challenge is great, so also is the power of Christ’s grace. Through adoration of the Eucharist you will find light and strength, gladness of heart, inspiration and the greatest means of holiness. And as the chief priest leading your people assembled for worship in the Eucharistic Sacrifice you will find the fulfilment of your episcopal ministry.

In your own use of the Sacrament of Penance you will find renewed contact with the Christ whose compassionate representatives you are and who calls you personally to ever renewed conversion and holiness of life. You will find the means to give new assurance to your priests and people of the extreme relevance of this sacrament in the Church today. From your whole way of life - a life of union with God through prayer and penance - you will be still more zealous preachers of the mystery of salvation and eternal life: Ex abundantia enim cordis os eius loquitur (Lc 6,45).

7. Indeed, everything in your lives, the whole apostolate of Scotland, will be seen from the vantage point of companionship with the Christ who has chosen you to preach his “unsearchable riches” (Ep 6,45), to plead for peace, and to give your lives as he did, for the flock.

Dear brother Bishops, in this collegial meeting this evening we have the wonderful opportunity to rededicate ourselves, together, to our episcopal ministry at the service of Christ and his Church. And in the vision that we have of this ministry we must always remember that Jesus Christ has first place in our lives. It was Christ who appointed the Twelve: “to be with him and to be sent out . . .” (Marc. 3, 14).

8. This is our calling too, for ever: to be with Christ and by him to be sent out - together - to proclaim the Good News of the Kingdom of God. Through your holiness, and the holiness of the local Churches over which you preside and which you serve, may this Good News continue to spread throughout Scotland, for the glory of the Most Holy Trinity - Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

May Mary, Queen of Peace and Mother of the Church, intercede for you and for all those who through your word will believe in the name of her Son, Jesus Christ.




Wednesday, 2 June 1982

Dear brethren,

“Grace to you and peace from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ” (2Th 1,2).

Since my visit to your city is brief, we are able to meet together for only a few moments, and you have very rightly proposed that these few moments should be devoted to a common prayer for unity. This is as it should be, for unity is God’s gracious gift, and all our other efforts to do his will are vain if they are not rooted in change of heart, in holiness of life and in prayer for unity: these are the very soul of the ecumenical movement (Cfr. Unitatis Redintegratio UR 8).

I have been happy to learn of the degree of cooperation that exists between Catholics and members of other Churches and Communities in Wales, and of the part played by Catholic consultors and observers in the work of the Council of Churches in Wales. Last Saturday at Canterbury I was able to have a longer meeting with a group of British Church leaders, among them the representatives of the Churches of this country. Such meetings are important, for they bear witness to our desire to fulfil God’s will for our unity with him and with each other, in his Son, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. This witness is all the more needed in these troubled days in which the peace of the world is so sorely threatened. Let us then pray together, in the words our Saviour gave us.



Ninian Park

Wednesday, 2 June 1982

Dear young people, dear brothers and sisters in Jesus Christ,

As my visit to Britain draws to an end, I am happy that this last meeting is with you - the youth of England and Wales, you who are the hope of tomorrow.

I have come to this land as a pilgrim pastor, a servant of Jesus Christ. I have come to proclaim Christ’s Gospel of peace and reconciliation; I have come to celebrate his saving action in the sacraments of the Church. I have come to call you to Christ.

1. Before I go away, there is something really important that I wish to emphasize. There is something very closely linked to the sacraments that I have celebrated, something that is essential to your Christian lives. It is prayer. Prayer is so important that Jesus himself tells us: “Pray constantly” (Lc 21,36). He wants us to pray for light and strength. He wants us to pray to his Father, as he himself did. The Gospel tells us that Jesus prayed all night before choosing his Apostles (Cfr. ibid.6, 12). And later on, in his Passion, at the height of his suffering, Christ “prayed more earnestly” (Ibid. 22, 44).

2. Jesus not only gave us the example of prayer, he actually taught us how to pray. One of the most beautiful scenes of the Gospel shows Jesus gathered with his disciples, teaching them to pray: “Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” Jesus was showing his disciples the value of praising God: the importance of God’s name, his Kingdom and his holy will. At the same time Jesus was telling them to ask for bread, for pardon and for help in trials. “Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil” (Cfr. Matth Mt 6,9-13 Lc 11,2-4).

3. My dear young people, it is through prayer that Jesus leads us to his Father. It is in prayer that the Holy Spirit transforms our lives. It is in prayer that we come to know God: to detect his presence in our souls, to hear his voice speaking through our consciences, and to treasure his gift to us of personal responsibility for our lives and for our world.

It is through prayer that we can clearly focus our attention on the person of Jesus Christ and see the total relevance of his teaching for our lives. Jesus becomes the model for our actions, for our lives. We begin to see things his way.

4. Prayer transforms our individual lives and the life of the world. Young men and women, when you meet Christ in prayer, when you get to know his Gospel and reflect on it in relation to your hopes and your plans for the future, then everything is new. Everything is different when you begin to examine in prayer the circumstances of every day, according to the set of values that Jesus taught. These values are so clearly stated in the Beatitudes: “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy. Blessed are the pure of heart, for they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called children of God” (Mt 5,7-9).

In prayer, united with Jesus - your brother, your friend, your Saviour, your God - you begin to breathe a new atmosphere. You form new goals and new ideals. Yes, in Christ you begin to understand yourselves more fully. This is what the Second Vatican Council wanted to emphasize when it stated: “The truth is that only in the mystery of the Incarnate Word does the mystery of man take on light” (Gaudium et Spes GS 22). In other words, Christ not only reveals God to man, but he reveals man to himself. In Christ we grasp the secret of our own humanity.

5. But there is more. Through prayer you come to experience the truth that Jesus taught: “The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life” (Jn 6,63). In Jesus, whom you get to know in prayer, your dreams for justice and your dreams for peace become more definite and look for practical applications. When you are in contact with the Prince of Peace, you understand how totally opposed to his message are violence and terrorism, hatred and war. In him you experience the full meaning of an interpersonal relationship that is based on generous love. Christ offers you a friendship that does not disappoint, a fidelity beyond compare.

6. Through contact with Jesus in prayer, you gain a sense of mission that nothing can dull. Your Christian identity is reaffirmed, and the meaning of your lives is for ever linked to Christ’s saving mission. Through prayer, the commitments of your Baptism and Confirmation take on an urgency for you. You realize that you are called to spread Christ’s message of salvation (Cfr. Apostolicam Actuositatem AA 3).

In union with Jesus, in prayer, you will discover more fully the needs of your brothers and sisters. You will appreciate more keenly the pain and suffering that burden the hearts of countless people. Through prayer, especially to Jesus at Communion, you will understand so many things about the world and its relationship to him, and you will be in a position to read accurately what are referred to as the “signs of the times.” Above all you will have something to offer those who come to you in need. Through prayer you will possess Christ and be able to communicate him to others. And this is the greatest contribution you can make in your lives: to communicate Christ to the world.

7. Through prayer you will receive the strength to resist the spirit of the world. You will receive the power to show compassion to every human being - just as Jesus did. Through prayer you will have a part in salvation history as it unfolds in your generation. In prayer you will be able to enter into the heart of Jesus and understand his feelings towards his Church. By using the Psalms, the prayerbook that Jesus used, you will be able to repeat, under the action of the Holy Spirit, the praise and thanksgiving that have been offered to God for centuries by his people. In all the circumstances of your lives, you will find that Jesus is with you - he is close to you in prayer. It is prayer that will bring joy into your lives and help you to overcome the obstacles to Christian living. Remember the words of Saint James: “Is any one among you suffering? Let him pray” (Iac. 5, 13).

8. My dear young people, it is easy to see why Christ told us to pray all the time, and why Saint Paul insisted on this so much (Cfr. Luc Lc 21,36 Rm 12,12 1Th 5,7). It is in prayer that God finally brings us into union with himself, through our Lord Jesus Christ, his Son, who lives and reigns with him and the Holy Spirit for ever and ever.

When you go to Jesus in prayer - and through him to the Father - you will always find inspiration in Mary his Mother. With every generation of disciples you will learn to pray with her, and with her to await the action of the Holy Spirit in your lives (Cfr. Act. 1, 14).

9. It is my hope today, as I return to Rome, that you will remember why I came among you. And as long as the memory of this visit lasts, may it be recorded that I, John Paul II, came to Britain to call you to Christ, to invite you to pray!

Dear young people, this explains why, in the Church of today, you are the hope of tomorrow. And so I urge you, in the words of Saint Paul: “Pray at all times in the Spirit . . . and also for me, that utterance may be given me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the Gospel . . . that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak . . . Grace be with all who love our Lord Jesus Christ with unfailing love” (Ep 6,18-20 Ep 6,24). Amen.

Speeches 1982 - Murrayfield