Aleteia’s Jeffrey Bruno has been in Krakow snapping away some amazing photos from World Youth Day—and the experience had an impact. He reflects today on what all this means and why we should care.
The evening of prayer and Adoration began, presided over by Bishop Robert Barron and led in song by Matt Maher and Audrey Assad, and I watched as these kids dropped drop to their knees, closed their eyes, many with tears streaming down their faces. Otherworldly, yes; it became clear to me that this was a true communio — a true spiritual communion between people of all ages, backgrounds, races and ethnicities, united as one in Christ. I became completely swept up in the moment, in the communio. I became united with them, in Christ, as well. It was breathtaking; it raised the hair on my arms, and I struggled to hold back the tears, because it’s hard to photograph anything when you’re weeping — when you’re immersed deeply in the living Presence of Christ Jesus, with 30,000 right there, with you. It felt like the entire arena was in a tender, loving embrace. In that moment I never wanted it to stop; I never wanted the night to end. We were getting a glimpse of heavenly peace, and everyone knew it. This is why you should care about World Youth Day, why it matters, and why if Holy Spirit nudges, you should make every effort to follow through. I left the arena thinking, “Why would any rational human being want to deprive themselves of this intense joy?” The nudge I personally have received this week, over and over again, has been “Co-operate with Grace.” If my first response was to shrug, “Sure, why not?” Now, I know. Why not, indeed?
Read it all. It’s a bracing tonic during a time when the world seems, for the most part, utterly incapable of charity, or decency, or hope. Thank you, Jeffrey. We needed this.