Over 70,000 young Italians on pilgrimage with an evening prayer vigil in Rome on Saturday encounter Pope Francis. This is a week-long pilgrimage was organized by the National Service for Youth Ministry of the Italian Bishops’ Conference in view of the Synod for Young People in October and World Youth Day in January.
Below is the FULL TEXT Release of Vatican.va on the Meeting with the 70,000 Italian Youth and Pope Francis in Rome- The Original Text was Italian - this is an Internet Translation
The meeting opens with a greeting from Elena di Modena on behalf of young Italians. At the end of the greeting, the gift that the young Italians will give to him as a sign of gratitude for this meeting will be brought to the Pope.
It will be made by two young people: Letizia, 23 and Lucamatteo, 21. They express two aspects of the same research: the one concerning the construction of one's personal identity and one's own dreams.
Dear Pope Francis, I'm Letizia, I'm 23 years old and I'm studying at university. I would like to say a word about our dreams and how we see the future. When I had to make the important choice of what to do at the end of the upper V, I was afraid to trust what I really dreamed of wanting to become, because it would have meant completely discovering the eyes of others and of myself.
I had decided to entrust myself to the opinion of some adults whose admiration of the profession and the choices. I turned to the professor that I esteemed more, the prof. of Art, the one that teaches the most exciting things for me. I told him I wanted to follow his path, become like him. And I felt I answered that now it was not as it used to be, that times had changed, that there was a crisis, that I would not find work, and that I would rather have chosen a field of study that better respond to market needs . 'Choose economy', he told me. I felt a great disappointment; I felt betrayed in the dream that I had confided to him, when instead I was looking for an encouragement from the figure I wanted to imitate. In the end, I chose my path, I chose to follow my passion and I study Art.
Instead, one day, in an oratory where I am an educator, one of my girls told me to trust me, to estimate my choices. He told me that I was almost a model for her and that she wanted to do what I did.
It was there, at that moment that I consciously decided that I would take all the commitment to be an educator: I would not have been that traitorous and disappointing adult, but I would have given time and energy, with all the burdens that it could entail, because a person was entrusted to me.
Holy Father, when we look at our future we are used to imagine it dyed with gray, dark, threatening colors. To tell you the truth to me it seems to see a white slide, where there is nothing ...
Sometimes I tried to draw it, my future. But in the end I see something that does not satisfy me. I try to explain myself: I think we are the ones who design it, but we often start from a great project, a kind of great fresco to which, in spite of ourselves, we take away some details, we take away some pieces. The result is that projects and dreams, for fear of others and their judgment, end up being smaller than what they were leaving.
And above all I end up creating something that I do not always like ...
Answer of the Holy Father
Good evening. I tell you the truth: I knew the questions and I made a draft answer, but also - hearing them - I would add something spontaneously. Because the way they asked the questions goes beyond what is written.
You, Letizia, you said a very important word, which is "the dream". And you both said another very important one: "fear". These two words will enlighten us a little.
Dreams are important. They keep our eyes wide, help us to embrace the horizon, to cultivate hope in every daily action. And the dreams of young people are the most important of all. A young man who can not dream is a young anesthetized; he will not be able to understand life, the force of life. Dreams wake you up, bring you in there, are the brightest stars, those that indicate a different path for humanity. Behold, you have in your heart these shining stars that are your dreams: they are your responsibility and your treasure. Let them be your future too! And this is the work you must do: transforming today's dreams into the reality of the future, and this requires courage, as we have both felt. They said to the girl. "No, no: study economics because you will die of hunger with this", and to the boy who "yes, the project is good but we take away this piece and this and this ...", and in the end there is nothing left. No! Bring forward with courage, courage in the face of resistance, difficulties, everything that makes our dreams go out.
Of course, dreams must be made to grow, to be purified, tested and shared. But have you ever wondered where your dreams come from? My dreams, where do they come from? Are they born watching television? Listening to a friend? Daydreaming? Are they big dreams or small, miserable dreams that are content with as little as possible? Dreams of comfort, dreams of well-being:
: "No, no, I'm fine like that, I'm not going any further". But these dreams will make you die, in life! They will make your life not a big thing! Dreams of tranquility, dreams that sleep young people and that make a young man a sofa. It is sad to see the young people on the sofa, watching how life passes in front of them. Young people - I've said it before - without dreams, who retire at 20, 22: but what a bad thing, a retired young man! Instead, the young man who dreams big things goes on, he does not retire early. I got it? Thus, young people. And the Bible tells us that great dreams are those capable of being fruitful: great dreams are those that give fruitfulness, are capable of sowing peace, of sowing fraternity, of sowing joy, like today; behold, these are great dreams because they think of everyone with US. Once, a priest asked me a question: "Tell me, what is the opposite of 'I'?". And I, naive, slipped into the trap and said: "The opposite of me is 'you'" - "No, Father: this is the seed of war. The contrary of 'I' is 'us' ". If I say: the opposite is you, I make war; if I say that the opposite of egoism is 'we', I make peace, I make the community, I carry forward the dreams of friendship, of peace. Think: true dreams are the dreams of 'us'. Great dreams include, involve, are extroverted, share, generate new life. And the great dreams, in order to remain such, need an inexhaustible source of hope, of an Infinite which blows in and dilates them. Great dreams need God in order not to become mirages or delirium of omnipotence. You can dream great things, but alone it is dangerous, because you can fall into the delirium of omnipotence. But with God, do not be afraid: go forward. Dream big. And then, the word you two used: 'fear'. You know? Dreams of young people are a little scary to adults. They are scary because when a young man dreams he goes far. Perhaps because they stopped dreaming and risking. So many times life causes adults to stop dreaming, stop risking; perhaps because your dreams undermine their life choices, dreams that lead you to criticize, to criticize them. But do not let yourselves steal your dreams. There is a boy here in Italy, twenty years old, twenty-two, who began to dream and dream big. And his father, a great businessman, tried to convince him and he: "No, I want to dream. I dream of this that I feel inside ". And in the end, he's gone, to dream. And dad followed him. And that young man took refuge in the bishopric, stripped off his clothes and gave them to his father: "Let me go on my way". This young man, an Italian of the 13th century, was called Francesco and changed the history of Italy. Francesco risked to dream big; he did not know the frontiers and dreaming he finished his life. We think: he was a young man like us. But how he dreamed! They said he was crazy because he dreamed so. And he has done so well and continues to do so. Young people are a little afraid of adults because adults have stopped dreaming, they have stopped risking, they have settled well. But, as I told you, you do not let yourselves steal your dreams. "And how I do, Father, so as not to make me steal my dreams?". Look for good teachers able to help you understand them and make them concrete in gradualness and serenity. In your turn, be good teachers, teachers of hope and trust in the new generations that are pressing you. "But how can I become a teacher?". Yes, a young man who is capable of dreaming becomes a teacher with testimony. Because it is a testimony that shakes, which moves the hearts and shows the ideals that current life covers. Do not stop dreaming and be masters in the dream. The dream is of great strength. "Father, and where can I buy the tablets that will make me dream?". No, not those! Those do not make you dream: those who put their hearts to sleep! Those burn you neurons. Those ruin your life. "And where can I buy dreams?". Do not buy, dreams. Dreams are a gift, a gift from God, a gift that God sows in your hearts. Dreams are given to us free of charge, but because we also give them free to others. Offer your dreams: no one, taking them, will make you impoverish. Offer them to others for free. Dear young people: "no" to fear. What that professor told you! He was afraid? Oh yes, maybe he was afraid; but he had arranged everything, it was quiet. But why did not he want a girl to go his way? He scared you. And what did he tell you? "Study economy: you will earn more". This is a trap, the trap of having, settling into a well-being and not being a pilgrim on the road to our dreams. Boys and girls, be you pilgrims on the road of your dreams. Risk on that road: do not be afraid. make your dreams come true, because life is not a lottery: life comes true. And we all have the ability to do it. The holy Pope John XXIII said: "I never met a pessimist who did something good" (interview with Sergio Zavoli to Mgr Capovilla in Jesus, 6, 2000). We must learn this, because it will help us in life. Pessimism throws you down, it does not make you do anything. And fear makes you pessimistic. No pessimism. Risk, dream and forward.
It will be posed by Martina - 24 years: it concerns discernment in life and the idea of commitment and responsibility towards the world that young people are making at this time.
Holy Father, I am Martina, I am 24 years old. Some time ago, a professor made me reflect on how our generation is not even able to choose a program on TV, let alone engage in a relationship for life ...
In fact, I find it hard to say I'm engaged. Rather, I prefer to say "I'm": it's easier! It involves less responsibility, at least in the eyes of others!
Deep down, however, I feel strongly that I want to commit myself to designing and building a life together now.
So I ask myself: why the desire to weave authentic relationships, the dream of forming a family, are considered less important than others and must be subordinated to follow a professional achievement? I perceive that adults expect this from me: that before you reach a profession, then you start being a "person".
We need adults to remind us how beautiful it is to dream in two! We need adults who are patient to be near us and so they teach us the patience to be near; that they listen to us deep down and teach us to listen, rather than to always be right!
We need points of reference, passionate and supportive.
Do not you think that the figures of truly stimulating adults are rare on the horizon? Why are adults losing their sense of society, of mutual help, of commitment to the world and in relationships? Why does this sometimes touch priests and educators?
I believe it is always worth being mothers, fathers, friends, brothers ... for life! And I do not want to stop believing it!
Answer of the Holy Father
It's brave, Martina, eh? Our stability shakes, and also speaks with fire! I would like to ask you, if perhaps she is the nephew of St. John Chrysostom for how he speaks, so strong, with so much force! Choosing, being able to decide for oneself seems to be the highest expression of freedom. Choose and be able to decide for yourself. And in a sense it is. But the idea of choice that we breathe today is an idea of freedom without constraints, without commitments and always with some escape route: a "I choose, however ...". You put your finger in the wound: choose that for life, the choice of love ... Even there we can say: "I choose, but not now but when I finish my studies", for example. I "choose, however": that "however" stops us, does not let us go, does not let us dream, it takes away our freedom. There is always a "but", which sometimes becomes larger than the choice and suffocates it. This is how freedom crumbles and no longer keeps its promises of life and happiness. And then we conclude that freedom is a deception and that happiness does not exist.
Dear young people, the freedom of each one is a great gift, a gift that is given to you and which you must keep in order to make it grow, to grow freedom, to let it develop; freedom does not allow half measures. And she focused on the greatest freedom, which is the freedom of love: but why should I finish my university career before thinking of love? Love comes when it wants - true love. Is it a bit dangerous to talk to young people about love? No, it's not dangerous. Because young people know well when there is true love and when there is the simple enthusiasm made up by love: you distinguish this well, you are not stupid, you! And for this, we have the courage to talk about love. Love is not a profession: love is life and if love comes today, why do I have to wait three, four, five years to make it grow and to make it stable? In this I ask the parents to help the young to mature when there is love, that love will mature, do not move it further and say: "No, because if you marry you now, then the children will arrive and you will not be able to finish your career, and so much effort we have done for you "; we all hear this story ... In life, on the other hand, we must always put love first, but true love: and there you must learn to discern, when there is true love and when there is only enthusiasm . "Why do I struggle - she said - to say I'm engaged?". That is, to show, to show that new identity card in my life? Because it's all a world of conditioning. But there is another thing that is very important: "But you, do you want to marry?" - "But, we do one thing: you go on like this, pretend not to love, study, and then start to live the double life ". The greatest enemy of love is the double life: do you understand? Or should I be clearer? The greatest enemy of love is not only not to let it grow now, wait to finish the career, but it is to do the double life, because if you start to love the double life, love is lost, love goes away . Why do I say this? Because in true love, man has a task and the woman has another task.
Do you know what is the greatest task of man and woman in true love? You know that? The totality: love does not tolerate half measures: all or nothing. And to make love grow you have to avoid the loopholes. Love must be sincere, open, courageous. In love you must put all the flesh in the fire: so we say in Argentina. There is one thing in the Bible that strikes me so much: at the end of the creation of the world, he says that God created man in his image and likeness, and says: "He created them male and female, both in his image and resemblance ". This is Love. When you see a marriage, a couple of a man and a woman going forward in the life of love, there is the image and likeness of God. How is God? Like that marriage. This is the image and likeness of God. It does not say that man is image and likeness of God, woman is image and likeness of God. No: both together are image and likeness of God. And then it continues , in the New Testament: "For this reason, the man will leave his father and his mother, to become with one wife only one flesh". This is Love. And what is the task, of man in love? Make the wife, or the girlfriend, more of a woman. And what is the task of women in marriage? Make the husband, or boyfriend, more man. It's a two-way job that grows together; but man can not grow alone, in marriage, if his wife does not grow and the woman can not grow in marriage if her husband does not grow. And this is unity, and this means "one flesh": they become "one", because one makes the other grow. This is the ideal of love and marriage. Do you think such an ideal, when it feels true, when it is mature, you have to move further for other interests? No, it must not be. We need to risk in love, but in true love, not in love enthusiasm made up by love. Then we must ask ourselves: where is my love, where is my treasure? Where is the thing that I consider most precious in life? Jesus speaks of a man who had sold all he had to buy a precious pearl of the highest value. Love is this: sell everything to buy this precious pearl of the highest value. All. This is why love is faithful. If there is infidelity, there is no love; or it is a sick love, or a small one, that does not grow. Sell everything for one thing. Think well about love, think about it seriously. Do not be afraid to think about love: but to the love that risks, to the faithful love, to the love that makes the other grow and mutually grow. Think of fruitful love. I saw here, while I was walking around, some children in the arms of their parents: this is the fruit of love, true love. Risk on love!
It will be done by Dario, 27 years old and is about the theme of faith and the search for meaning.
Holy Father, my name is Dario, I am 27 years old and I am a nurse in palliative care.
In life the moments in which I have been confronted with faith are rare and sometimes I have understood that doubts overcome certainties, the questions I ask have answers that are not concrete and which I can not touch, sometimes I even think that the answers do not are plausible.
I realize that we should spend more time: it is so difficult in the midst of the many things we do every day ... And it is not easy to find a guide that has time for comparison and research.
And then there are the great questions: how is it possible that a great and good God (as they have told me) allows injustice in the world? Why do the poor and the marginalized have to suffer so much? My work puts me daily in front of death and see young mothers or fathers of family abandon their children makes me ask: why allow this?
The Church, bearer of the Word of God on earth, seems increasingly distant and closed in its rituals. For young people the "impositions" from above are no longer sufficient, we need proof and a sincere witness of the Church that accompanies us and listens to us for the doubts that our generation poses every day. The useless glories and frequent scandals now make the Church hardly credible in our eyes.
Holy Father, with what eyes can we reread all this?
Answer of the Holy Father
Dario put his finger in the wound and repeated the word "why" more than once. Not all "why" have an answer. Why do children suffer, for example? Who can explain this to me? We do not have the answer. Only, we will find something by looking at Christ crucified and his Mother: there we will find a way to feel something in the heart that is an answer. In the prayer of the Our Father (cf. Mt 6:13) there is a request: "Lead us not into temptation". This Italian translation has recently been adjusted to the precise translation of the original text, because it could sound ambiguous. Can God the Father "lead us" into temptation? Can he fool his children? Of course not. And for this, the true translation is: "Do not abandon us to temptation". Hold us from doing evil, free us from bad thoughts ... Sometimes the words, even if they speak of God, betray his message of love. Sometimes we are the ones who betray the Gospel. And he spoke of this betraying the Gospel, and he said: "The Church that bears the Word of God on earth, seems more distant and closed in its rituals". What he said is strong; it is a judgment on all of us, and also in a special way for - let us say - pastors; a judgment on us, the consecrated ones, the consecrated ones. He told us that we are increasingly distant and closed in our rituals. Let's listen to this with respect. This is not always the case, but sometimes it is true. For the young, impositions from above are no longer sufficient: "We need proof and a sincere testimony that accompanies us and listens to us for the doubts that our generation poses every day". And he asks all of us, pastors and faithful, to accompany, to listen, to give testimony. If I am a Christian, a lay faithful, a lay faithful, a priest, a nun, a bishop, if we Christians do not learn to listen to suffering, to listen to problems, to be silent and to let people talk and listen, we will never be able to give a positive answer. And so many times the positive answers can not be given with words: they must give themselves risking in the testimony. Where there is no testimony, there is no Holy Spirit. This is serious.
Of the early Christians it was said: "Look how they love each other". Because people saw the testimony. They knew how to listen, and then they lived as the Gospel says. Being a Christian is not a status of life, a qualified status: "I thank you, Lord, because I am a Christian and I am not like others who do not believe in you". Do you like this prayer? (answer: no). This is the prayer of the Pharisee, the hypocrite; so hypocrites pray. "But, poor people, do not understand anything. They did not go to catechesis, they did not go to a Catholic school, they did not go to the Catholic university ... but, they are poor people ... ": is this Christian? Is he Christian or not? (answer: no) No! This scandalizes! This is a sin. "I thank you, Lord, because I am not like the others: I go to Mass on Sunday, I do this, I have an orderly life, I confess, I am not like the others ...". Is this Christian? (answer: no) No. We have to choose the testimony. Once, in a lunch with young people in Krakow, a young man told me: "I have a problem at university because I have a partner who is agnostic. Tell me, Father, what should I say to this agnostic companion to make him understand that ours is the true religion? ".
I said it: "Dear, the last thing you have to do is tell him something. Begin to live as a Christian, and he will ask you why you live like that ". Dario continued: "The useless glories and the frequent scandals now make the Church hardly credible in our eyes. Holy Father, with what eyes can we reread all this? ". The scandal of a formal Church, not a witness; the scandal of a closed Church because it does not come out. Every day he must come out of himself, whether he is happy or sad, but must go out to caress the sick, to give palliative care that will make their transit to eternity less painful. And he knows what it is to get out of himself, to go to others, to go beyond the frontiers that give me security. In the Apocalypse there is a passage in which Jesus says: "I knock at the door: if you open me, I will come in and will dine with you": Jesus wants to come to us. But I often think of Jesus knocking on the door, but from inside, because we let him go out, because we often, without witness, hold him prisoner of our formalities, our closures, our selfishness, our clerical way of life. . And clericalism, which is not just clerics, is an attitude that affects all of us: clericalism is a perversion of the Church. Jesus teaches us this path of exit from ourselves, the path of witness. And this is the scandal - because we are sinners! - do not go out of ourselves to give testimony. I invite you to ask - to Darius or to someone else - to do this work, to be able to come out of itself, to give testimony. And then, reflect. When I say "the Church gives no testimony", can I also say this about me? I give testimony? He can say it, because he gives testimony every day, with the sick. But I can say that? Can any one of us criticize that priest, that bishop or that other Christian, if he is not able to come out of himself to give testimony? Dear young people - and this is the last thing I say - the message of Jesus, the Church without witness is only smoke.