Pope Francis Tells Youth "We look to Jesus, we look to the Crucifix, there are both: boundless love and the courage to give one's life to the end..." FULL TEXT + Video in Slovakia
APOSTOLIC JOURNEY OF HIS HOLINESS POPE FRANCIS
(12-15 SEPTEMBER 2021)
MEETING WITH YOUNG PEOPLE
ADDRESS OF THE HOLY FATHER FRANCIS
Lokomotiva Stadium (Košice) SLOVAKIA
Tuesday, 14 September 2021
Dear young people, dear brothers and sisters, dobrý večer ! [Good evening!]
It gave me joy to hear Mons. Bernard's words, your testimonies and your questions.
You have done three and I would like to try to find answers with you.
I start with Peter and Zuzka, with your question about love in the couple. Love is the greatest dream in life, but it is not a cheap dream. It's nice, but it's not easy, like all the great things in life. It is the dream, but it is not an easy dream to interpret. I steal a sentence from you: "We have begun to perceive this gift with totally new eyes." Really, as you said, new eyes are needed, eyes that are not fooled by appearances. Friends, let's not trivialize love, because love is not just emotion and feeling, if anything, this is the beginning. Love is not having everything immediately , it does not respond to the logic of disposable . Love is fidelity, gift, responsibility.
The true originality today, the true revolution, is to rebel against the culture of the provisional, it is to go beyond instinct, beyond the instant, it is to love for all one's life and with one's whole self. We are not here to get by, but to make life a business. All of you will have in mind great stories, which you have read in novels, seen in some unforgettable movies, heard in some touching stories. If you think about it, in great stories there are always two ingredients: one is love, the other is adventure, heroism. They always go together. To make life great it takes both: love and heroism. We look to Jesus, we look to the Crucifix, there are both: boundless love and the courage to give one's life to the end, without half measures. Here before us is Blessed Anna, a heroine of love. It tells us to aim for high goals. Please,
Therefore, when you dream of love, you don't believe in special effects, but that each of you is special, each of you. Everyone is a gift and can make life, his own life, a gift. Others, society, the poor are waiting for you. You dream of beauty that goes beyond appearance, beyond makeup, beyond fashion trends. Do you dream without fear of forming a family, of generating and educating children, of spending a life sharing everything with another person, without being ashamed of your frailties, because there is he or she who welcomes and loves them, who loves you as you are. This is love: to love the other as they are, and this is beautiful! The dreams we have tell us the life we want. Big dreams are not the powerful car, the fashionable dress or the transgressive vacation. Do not listen to those who talk to you about dreams and instead sell you illusions. It is one thing to dream, to dream, and another to have illusions. These who sell illusions by talking about dreams are manipulators of happiness . We were created for a greater joy: each of us is unique and is in the world to feel loved in his uniqueness and to love others as no one can do in his place. You don't live sitting on the bench to make someone else's reserve. No, each one is unique in the eyes of God. Do not allow yourselves to be “approved”; we are not made in series, we are unique, we are free, and we are in the world to live a story of love, of love with God, to embrace the audacity of strong choices, to venture into the wonderful risk of loving. I ask you: do you believe this? I ask you: do you dream of this? [they answer: “Yes!”] Are you sure? [“Yes!”] Well done!
I would like to give you another piece of advice. For love to bear fruit, do not forget the roots . And what are your roots? Parents and especially grandparents. Beware: the grandparents. They have prepared the ground for you. Water the roots, go to your grandparents, it will do you good: ask them questions, take the time to listen to their stories. Today there is the danger of growing uprooted, because we are inclined to run, to do everything in a hurry: what we see on the internet can reach us immediately at home; just one click and people and things appear on the screen. And then it happens that they become more familiar than the faces that generated us. Filled with virtual messages, we risk losing our real roots. Disconnecting from life, fantasizing in the void, is not good, it is a temptation of the evil one. God wants us firmly planted on the ground, connected to life ; never closed, but always open to everyone! Rooted and open. You have understood? Rooted and open.
Yes, it is true, but - you will tell me - the world thinks differently. There is a lot of talk about love, but in reality there is another principle: each one thinks for himself. Dear young people, do not allow yourselves to be influenced by this, by what is wrong, by the evil that is raging. Do not let yourselves be imprisoned by sadness, by the resigned discouragement of those who say that nothing will ever change. If you believe this, you fall ill with pessimism. And have you seen the face of a young man, of a young pessimist? Have you seen what face he has? A bitter face, a bitter face. Pessimism makes us sick with bitterness, it ages us inside. And you grow old young. Today there are so many disruptive forces, so many who blame everyone and everything, amplifiers of negativity, professionals of complaint. Do not listen to them ! No, because complaining and pessimism are not Christians, the Lord hates sadness and victimhood. We are not made to keep our face on the ground, but to raise our gaze to Heaven, to others, to society.
And when we are down - because everyone in life is a little down at certain times, we all know this experience - and when we are down, what can we do? There is an infallible remedy to get us back up. That's what you told us, Peter: Confession. Have you listened to Peter, you? [“Yes!”] The remedy of Confession. You asked me: "How can a young man overcome obstacles on the way to God's mercy?" Here too it is a question of looking, of looking at what matters. If I ask you: "What are you thinking about when you go to confession?" - do not say it out loud -, I am almost certain of the answer: "To sins". But - I ask you, you answer - are sins really the center of Confession? [“No!”] I don't hear ... [“No!”] Well done! God wants you to get close to Him thinking about you, about your sins, or to Him? What does God want? Do you get close to him or to your sins? What he wants? Answer ["To him!"] Louder, that I am deaf ... ["To him!"] What is the center, the sins or the Father who forgives all sins? The father. We do not go to confession as punished people who must humble themselves, but as children who run to receive the embrace of the Father. And the Father raises us up in every situation, forgives us every sin. Hear this well:God always forgives! You have understood? God always forgives!
I give you a little advice: after each Confession, stay a few moments to remember the forgiveness you have received. Keep that peace in your heart, that freedom you feel inside. Not the sins, which no longer exist, but the forgiveness that God has given you, the caress of God the Father. Keep that one, don't let it be stolen. And when the next time you go to confession, remember this: I am going to receive again that embrace that has done me so much good. I don't go to a judge to settle accounts, I go to Jesus who loves me and heals me. At this moment I feel like giving some advice to priests: I would say to priests that they feel they are in the place of God the Father who always forgives and embraces and welcomes. We give God the first place in Confession. If God, if He is the protagonist, everything becomes beautiful and becomes confessionthe sacrament of joy . Yes, of joy: not of fear and judgment, but of joy. And it is important that priests be merciful. Never curious, never inquisitors, please, but let them be brothers who give the Father's forgiveness, let them be brothers who accompany in this embrace of the Father.
But someone might say: “I am ashamed anyway, I cannot overcome the shame of going to confession”. Not a problem, it's a good thing! Being ashamed in life is sometimes good for you. If you are ashamed, it means that you do not accept what you have done. Shame is a good sign, but like any sign it asks to go further. Don't be a prisoner of shame, because God is never ashamed of you. He loves you right there, where you are ashamed of yourself. And he always loves you. I tell you something that is not on the big screen. In my land, those brazen who do everything wrong, we call them "shameless".
And one last doubt: "But, Father, I can't forgive myself, so not even God will be able to forgive me, because I will always fall into the same sins". But - listen - God, when is he offended? When are you going to ask for forgiveness? Never. God suffers when we think that he cannot forgive us, because it is like saying to him: “You are weak in love!”. I would tell God this is bad! Tell him "you are weak in love". Instead, God rejoices in forgiving us, every time. When he raises us he believes in us like the first time, he is not discouraged. It is we who are discouraged, he is not. He does not see sinners to label, but children to love. He does not see wrong people, but beloved children; maybe hurt, and then he has even more compassion and tenderness. And every time we go to confession - never forget it - there is a celebration in Heaven. May it be so also on earth!
Finally, Peter and Lenka, you have experienced the cross in life. Thanks for your testimony. You asked how to "encourage young people not to be afraid to embrace the cross". Hugging: it's a nice verb! Hugging helps overcome fear. When we are hugged we regain confidence in ourselves and also in life. So let us allow ourselves to be embraced by Jesus. Because when we embrace Jesus we embrace hope again. The cross cannot be embraced alone; pain does not save anyone. It is love that transforms pain. Therefore, it is with Jesus that one embraces the cross, never alone! If you embrace Jesus, joy is reborn . And the joy of Jesus, in pain, is transformed into peace. Dear young people, dear young people, I wish you this joy, stronger than anything. I wish you to take it to your friends.Not sermons , but joy. Bring joy! Not words, but smiles, fraternal closeness. I thank you for listening to me and I ask you one last thing: do not forget to pray for me. Ďakujem ! [Thanks!]
Stand up, everyone, and pray to God who loves us, let us pray the Our Father: "Our Father ..." [in Slovak]
FULL TEXT Source: Vatican.va