AT THE DIOCESE OF PIAZZA ARMERINA AND DI PALERMO
ON THE OCCASION OF THE 25th ANNIVERSARY OF DEATH
OF BLESSED PINO PUGLISI
MEETING WITH THE YOUNG
ADDRESS OF THE HOLY FATHER FRANCIS
Piazza Politeama (Palermo)
Saturday, September 15th 2018
Dear friends, good evening!
I'm happy to meet you at the height of this day! A day a bit 'tired, but beautiful, beautiful beauty! Thanks to the palermitans! Thanks for the three questions. I knew the three questions and I had written some answers, but I like to emphasize, and if another idea is put to the moment.
The first, yours, was on how to listen to the voice of the Lord and mature an answer. But I would ask: how do you listen to the Lord? How do you listen? Where does the Lord speak? Do you have the phone number of the Lord to call him? ... How do you listen to the Lord? I will tell you this, and this in earnest: the Lord does not listen to himself in an armchair. Do you understand? Sitting, comfortable life, doing nothing, and I would like to listen to the Lord. I assure you that you will listen to anything except the Lord. The Lord, with his comfortable life, in an armchair, can not be listened to. To remain seated in life - listen to this, it is very important for your young life - to remain seated creates interference with the Word of God, which is dynamic. The Word of God is not static, and if you are static you can not hear it. God finds out by walking. If you are not on the path to do something, to work for others, to bear a testimony, to do good, you will never listen to the Lord. To listen to the Lord we must be on a journey, not waiting for something to happen magically in life. We see it in the fascinating story of love that is the Bible. Here the Lord continually calls young people. Always, continuously. And he loves to talk to young people while they are on their way - for example, think of the two disciples of Emmaus - or while they are busy - think of David grazing the flock, while his brothers were at home quietly, or at war. God hates laziness and loves action. Put this good in your heart and mind: God hates laziness and loves action. Lazy people can not inherit the voice of the Lord. I got it? But it is not about moving to keep fit, to run every day to train. No, it's not about that. It is about moving the heart, putting the heart on its way. Think of the young Samuel. He was day and night in the temple, yet he was in constant motion, because he was not immersed in his affairs, but he was in search. If you want to listen to the voice of the Lord, get on the road, live in search. The Lord speaks to those in research. Those looking for, walk. Being in research is always healthy; feeling already arrived, especially for you, is tragic. I got it? Never feel you have arrived, ever! I like to say, taking up the icon of the armchair, I like to say that it is bad to see a retired young man, retired. It's ugly! A young man must be on a journey, not retired. Youth pushes you to this, but if you retire at 22, you've aged too early, too early!
Jesus gives us advice to listen to the voice of the Lord: "Seek and you will find" (Lk 11: 9). Yeah, but where to look? Not on the phone - as I said -: there the Lord's calls do not come. Not on television, where the Lord has no channel. Not even in deafening music and in the daze that stuns: there the line with the sky is interrupted. The Lord should not even be looked in front of the mirror - this is a danger, feel good: the Lord should not even look in front of the mirror - where you are alone risking to be disappointed with what you are. That bitterness that you feel, sometimes, that brings sadness: "but who am I ?, what do I do ?, I do not know what to do ...", and leads you to sadness. No. On the way, always on the way. Do not look for it in your little room, locked in yourselves to think about the past or wander with thought in an unknown future. No, God speaks now in the report. In the journey and in the relationship with others. Do not close yourselves, confide in Him, entrust everything to Him, seek Him in prayer, seek Him in dialogue with others, seek Him always on the move, look for Him on the way. You will understand that Jesus believes in you more than you believe in yourselves. This is important: Jesus believes in you more than you believe in yourselves. Jesus loves you more than you love yourself. Seek him out of yourself, on the way: He awaits you. Make a group, make friends, take walks, make encounters, do church like that, walking. The Gospel is the school of life, the Gospel always leads us to the journey. I believe this is the way to prepare to listen to the Lord
And then, you will hear the Lord's invitation to do one thing, or another ... In the Gospel we see that someone says, "Follow me!", To another he says: "Go and do this ...". The Lord will make you feel what he wants from you, but as long as you are not seated, you are on the way, you seek others and try to make dialogue and community with others, and above all that you pray. Pray with your words: with what comes from your heart. It is the most beautiful prayer. Jesus always calls us to take off: do not be content to look at the horizon from the beach, no, go ahead. Jesus does not want me to stay on the bench, he invites you to take the field. He does not want you behind the scenes to spy on others or in the stands to comment, but he wants you on stage. Get in the game! Are you afraid of making a fool of yourself? Falla, patience. We have all done so many, many. Losing your face is not the drama of life. The drama of life, on the other hand, is not to put our faces on us: that is drama !, it is not to give life! Better to ride the beautiful dreams with some fool who become retired people of the quiet life - pancioni, there, comfortable -. Better idealists than lazy realists: better to be Don Quixote than Sancho Panza!
And another thing that can help you, I said in passing, but I want to repeat it: you dream big! You dream big, big! Because in the great dreams you will find many, many words of the Lord that is telling you something.
Walking, searching, dreaming ... One last word that helps to listen to the voice of the Lord is to serve, to do something for others. Always to others, not folded in on yourself, like those who by name "me, me, with me, for me", those people who live for themselves but in the end they end up like vinegar, so bad ...
The second question. Let's see if I wrote something ... Really, your island is a meeting place of many cultures ... I do not know Sicily, it's the first time: I've been in Lampedusa and now, now, here. Even your language, your dialects have roots of many languages, many, because it has been a crossroads of cultures and all have left a cultural trace. You are a people [fruit of] the meeting of cultures and people. I liked to hear this, to hear from you, from you, that Sicily - is at the center of the Mediterranean, has always been a meeting ground. It is not just a beautiful cultural tradition, it is a message of faith. Your vocation will surely be men and women of encounter. Meet and meet; encourage meetings, because today's world is a world of confrontation; of wars, of clashes ... People do not understand each other ... And faith is founded on the encounter, an encounter with God. God did not leave us alone, He came down to meet us. He comes to meet us, He precedes us, to meet us. Faith is founded on the encounter. And [in] the meeting between us, how important is the dignity of others? God wants us to be saved together, not alone, that we are happy together, not selfishly alone; that we save ourselves as a people. This word, "people": you are a people with a great identity and you must be open to all peoples who, as in other times, come to you. With that work of integration, of acceptance, of respecting the dignity of others, of solidarity ... For us they are not good intentions for educated people, but distinctive traits of a Christian. A Christian who is not in solidarity is not a Christian. Solidarity is a trait of the Christian. What is lacking today, of which there is famine, is love: not sentimental love, which we can look at in the soap operas, in the new shows, but the concrete one, the love of the Gospel. And I will tell you, to you and to all those who have asked the question with you: how is your love? How is the thermometer of your love?
We are good at making distinctions, even just and fine, but sometimes we forget the simplicity of faith. And what does faith tell us? "God loves those who give with joy" (2 Cor 9,7). Love and joy: this is welcome. To live we can not only distinguish, often to justify ourselves; we must get involved. Do I say this in dialect? In human dialect: you have to get your hands dirty! You have understood? If you are not able to get your hands dirty, you will never be welcoming, you will never think of the other, the needs of others. Dear, "life can not be explained, we live!" We leave the explanations for later; but live life. Life is alive. This is not mine, said a great author of this land. It is even more valid for the Christian life: the Christian life is lived. The first question to ask is: do I put my skills, my talents, all that I can do, available? Do I have time for others? Am I welcoming with others? Active a little 'concrete love in my days? Today everything seems connected, but in reality we feel too isolated, distant. Now I make you think, each one of you, of the solitude you have in your heart: how often do you find yourself alone with that sadness, with that loneliness? This is the thermometer that tells you that the temperature of the reception, of getting your hands dirty, of serving others is too low. Sadness is an indication of the lack of commitment [says compromise "], and without commitment you can never be a builder of the future! You must be builders of the future, the future is in your hands! Think this well: the future is in your hands. You can not take the phone and call a company that will make the future: the future you have to do it, with your hands, with your heart, with your love, with your passions, with your dreams. With the others. Cozy and at the service of others.
We need real men and women, not people who pretend to be men and women. Real men and women who report malfeasance and exploitation. Do not be afraid to report, to shout! We need men and women who live free and liberating relationships, who love the weakest and are passionate about legality, a mirror of inner honesty. We need men and women who do what they say - do what you say - and say no to rampant gattopardism. Do what I want to carry on, and do not give a brushstroke of paint and go on like this, no. Life is not made of brushstrokes of paint; life is made in commitment, in the struggle, in the denunciation, in the discussion, in playing one's life for an ideal; in dreams ... You do this, and so it goes. Being welcoming means being oneself, being at the service of others, getting your hands dirty and all that I said. Agree? Do you really agree?
And now, the last question - I wrote something while you were talking ... -: how to live being young in this land? I like to say that you are called to be dawns of hope. Hope will rise in Palermo, in Sicily, in Italy, in the Church from you. You have in your heart and hands the possibility of giving birth and growing hope. To be a dawn of hope one must get up every morning with a young, hopeful heart, struggling not to feel old, not to give in to the irredeemable logic. It is a perverse logic: this does not work, nothing changes, everything is lost ... This is a perverse logic, it is pessimism, according to which there is no salvation for this earth, everything is finished. No! No to fatalism, no to pessimism, yes to hope, yes to Christian hope. And you have in your hands the ability to make hope, to keep hope going. Please, no to resignation! Feel good: a young man can not be resigned. No to resignation! Everything can change. "But, Father, where should I call, to change everything?" To your heart, your dreams, your ability as a man, a woman to carry forward a fruit. To generate. How will you generate a son or a daughter tomorrow, to generate also a new civilization, a welcoming civilization, a fraternal civilization, a civilization of love. Everything can change!
Be free children. While you were talking, I thought that we are experiencing a time of crisis. It's true. We all know it. So many different crises, but it is the world that is in crisis; many small wars, but the world is at war; many financial problems, but the young are without work ... It's a world of crisis; a world in which we can also see the disorientation that leads you to the crisis. The word crisis means that they make you dance in uncertainty; the word crisis says that you can not stay still because everything falls, everything is lost. What are your values?
I have spoken of your hope, of the future: you are the hope. I spoke about the present: you have hope in your hands today. But I ask you: in this time of crisis, do you have roots? Everyone answers in his heart: "What are my roots?". Or have you lost them? "Am I a young man with roots, or am I already a young uprooted?". First I talked about young people in chairs, retired young people, quiet young people who do not start walking. Now I ask you: are you a young man with roots, or uprooted? We talked about this land of so much culture: but are you rooted in the culture of your people? Are you rooted in the values of your people, in the values of your family? Or are you a bit 'in the air, a bit' without roots - excuse me the word - a little '"gassoso", without foundations, without roots? "But, father, where can I find the roots?". In your culture: you will find many roots! In dialogue with others ... But above all - and I want to underline this - talk to old people. Talk to the old ones. Listen to the old ones. "Father, they always say the same things!". Listen to them. Argue with the old, because if you argue with the old, they will speak more deeply and tell you things. They must give you the roots, roots that then - in your hands - they will produce hope that will flourish in the future. Differently, but with roots. Without roots, everything is lost: one can not go and create hope without roots. A poet told us: "What the tree has in bloom, comes from what it has buried," from its roots. Look for the roots.
And if someone thinks that old people are boring, that they always repeat the same things, I advise them: go to them, let them talk, fight with them. And they will begin to tell you interesting things, that will give you strength, will give you strength to go on. "But I have to do the same things they did to them?" No! Take from them strength, belonging. A young man who does not belong in a society, in a family, in a culture, is a young person without identity, without a face. In times of crisis we must dream, we must start, we must serve others, we must be welcoming, we must be young to meet, we must be young with hope in the hands, with the future in the hands and we must be young who take the roots from the roots ability to make hope flourish in the future. I beg you, do not be uprooted, "gaseous", because without roots you will not have belonging and you will have no identity.
I like to see you here, in the Church, joyful bearers of hope, of the hope of Jesus overcoming sin. I will not tell you that you are holy, no. You are sinners, everyone, like me, like everyone. But it is the strength of Jesus that overcomes sin and helps you to move forward. Hope that exceeds death. We dream and live the culture of hope, the culture of joy, the culture of belonging to a people, to a family, the culture that knows how to take from the roots the strength to flourish and bear fruit.
Thank you so much for listening, for your patience ... You are standing ... Excuse me, I have talked to you sitting down, but my ankles made me so bad, by now! Thank you. And do not forget: roots, the present in the hands and work for the hope of the future, to have belonging and identity. Thank you!
Now I would like to give you the blessing. I know that among you there are young Catholics, Christians, other religious traditions, and even some agnostics. For this I will bless everyone, and I will ask God to bless that seed of restlessness that is in your heart.
Lord, Lord God, look at these young people. You know each of them, You know what they think, You know that they want to move on, to make a better world. Lord, make them seekers of good and of happiness; make them active in their journey and in their encounter with others; make them bold in serving; make them humble in seeking the roots and carrying them forward to bear fruit, to have identity, to have belonging. May the Lord, the Lord God, accompany all these young people on the journey and bless everyone. Amen.