YOUR LIFE IS THE GREATEST GIFT FROM GOD
Life is a precious gift and it comes to us with its challenges.
Do you know that the welfare of the world around you can be better because of you?
Do you like to walk on the footsteps of people who made the world a better one?
Do you realise that your life would become very interesting and fulfilling?
Pope’s message for Diocesan World Youth Day 2017
My Dear Young Friends,
Reading the Magnificat, we realize how well Mary knew the word of God. Every verse of her song has a parallel in the Old Testament… How important it is for the faith to be passed down from one generation to another! There is a hidden treasure in the prayers that past generations have taught us, in the lived spirituality of ordinary people that we call popular piety.
Mary inherits the faith of her people and shapes it in a song that is entirely her own, yet at the same time the song of the entire Church, which sings it with her. If you, as young people, want to sing a Magnificat all your own, and make your lives a gift for humanity as a whole, it is essential to connect with the historical tradition and the prayer of those who have gone before you.
To do so, it is important to be familiar with the Bible, God’s word, reading it daily and letting it speak to your lives, and interpreting everyday events in the light of what the Lord says to you in the sacred Scriptures. In prayer and in the prayerful reading of the Bible (lectio divina), Jesus will warm your hearts and illumine your steps, even in the dark moments of life (cf. Lk 24:13-35).
Mary also teaches us to live “eucharistically”
Mary also teaches us to live “eucharistically”, that is to learn how to give thanks and praise, and not to fixate on our problems and difficulties alone. In the process of living, today’s prayers become tomorrow’s reasons for thanksgiving. In this way, your participation in Holy Mass and the occasions when you celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation will be both a high point and new beginning. Your lives will be renewed each day in forgiveness and they will become an act of perennial praise to the Almighty. “Trust the memory of God … his memory is a heart filled with tender compassion, one that rejoices in erasing in us every trace of evil” (cf. Homily at Mass, World Youth Day, Kraków, 31 July 2016).
We have seen that the Magnificat wells up in Mary’s heart at the moment when she meets her elderly cousin Elizabeth. With her faith, her keen gaze and her words, Elizabeth helps the Virgin to understand more fully the greatness of what God is accomplishing in her and the mission that he has entrusted to her. But what about you? Do you realize how extraordinarily enriching the encounter between the young and the elderly can be?...
Creative fidelity for building the future
It is true that you are still young and so it can be hard for you to appreciate the importance of tradition. But know that this is not the same as being traditionalists. No! When Mary in the Gospel says: “The Mighty One has done great things for me”, she means to say that those “great things” are not over, but are still happening in the present. It is not about the distant past.
Being mindful of the past does not mean being nostalgic or remaining attached to a certain period of history, but rather being able to acknowledge where we have come from, so that we can keep going back to essentials and throwing ourselves with creative fidelity into building the future. It would be problematic and ultimately useless to cultivate a paralyzing memory that makes us keep doing the same things in the same way. It is a gift of God to see how many of you, with your questions, dreams and uncertainties, refuse to listen to those who say that things cannot change…
People think it is better to live in “open” situations, going through life as if it were a reality show, without aim or purpose. Don’t let yourselves be deceived! God came to enlarge the horizons of our life in every direction. He helps us to give due value to the past so as better to build a future of happiness. Yet this is possible only if we have authentic experiences of love, which help us concretely to discern the Lord’s call and to respond to it. For only that can bring us true happiness.
Dear young people
I entrust our journey towards Panama, together with the process of preparation for the next Synod of Bishops, to the maternal intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary. I ask you to keep in mind two important anniversaries in 2017: the three-hundredth anniversary of the finding of the image of Our Lady of Aparecida in Brazil and the centenary of the apparitions in Fatima, Portugal… Saint Martin of Porres, one of the patron saints of Latin America and of the 2019 World Youth Day, in going about his humble daily duties, used to offer the best flowers to Mary, as a sign of his filial love. May you too cultivate a relationship of familiarity and friendship with Our Lady, entrusting to her your joys, your worries and your concerns. I assure you that you will not regret it!
May the maiden of Nazareth, who in the whole world has assumed a thousand names and faces in order to be close to her children, intercede for all of us and help us to sing of the great works that the Lord is accomplishing in us and through us.
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