There is still a lot to talk about on WYD - the vocations exhibition; the catechesis sessions; meeting Dawn Eden, author of Thrill of the Chaste; some of the other traddie events such as the FSSP anniversary Mass; and much more. And some nice photos are starting to appear as bloggers return home or get computer access so I'll start poaching as per usual (but feel free to send me any not used by other sites, o photographers!).
I thought first though that I should start talking about some of the things the Holy Father said, because, as always, there is much great teaching here for us to meditate and reflect on. This will stretch out over a couple of posts, because while I'm not attempting to be comprehensive, I'm going to attempt to do this thematically!
So let me just start - to get you thinking - by listing out some of the key themes that particularly struck me, which I'll tackle over the next week or so one by one (noting that I might shuffle these around a bit and collapse things together as I write them!).
The unifying theme of World Youth Day was the role of the Holy Spirit - the text was “You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you shall be my witnesses to the ends of the earth”. But underneath this and linked to it were some very important messages.
1. The importance of the Church and its inseparability from Christ for salvation - Church as the source of the sacraments (Pope Benedict XVI had some important things to say on the meaning of baptism and confirmation in particular), grace, and the gifts of the Holy Spirit (who is the soul of the Church).
2. The nature of the Church - the Church as the Body of Christ, the upper Room, the Temple, community of love, living altar; the continuity of the Church over time; the role of Peter (and his successor) as confirming others in faith, the rock; importance of unity - but true ecumenism depends on genuine doctrinal agreement.
3. The nature of creation and the New Creation - a creation that is inherently good both in its natural and social dimensions but scarred by original sin; a creation governed by the Natural Law; man as the apex of creation.
4. Our struggle towards the true and good as flawed individuals - the new creation vs false utopianism; the false gods of material possessions, power, pleasure; repentance, conversion, transformation; the means to holiness esp prayer and lectio divina.
5. The mission of the Church - the call to and nature of consecrated life; the relationship between the world and Christians; suffering and the Cross; being witnesses to the ends of the earth; spiritual marriage.
6. The nature and role of the Third Person of the Trinity - the Holy Spirit as the soul of the Church; the gifts; water in the spiritual desert; St Augustine's three insights.