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?
MESSAGE OF THE HOLY FATHER FRANCIS
ON THE OCCASION OF THE TRIENNIAL YOUTH ASSEMBLY
ORGANIZED BY THE ANTILLES EPISCOPAL CONFERENCE (AECYA)
[FORT-DE-FRANCE, MARTINIQUE, 10-23 JULY 2018]
Dear young people,
I affectionately greet you young people who want to transform the Caribbean family. It’s a big job! You obviously have courage and want to join the effort. So go ahead!
It is a challenging issue; you are young. But I do wonder: are you young people, or young people who have grown old? Because if you are young people who have grown old, you cannot accomplish anything! You have to be youthful ‘young people’! It takes all the strength of youth to be able to change things. And the first thing you need to do is check to see if you have gotten too comfortable. It’s not a good thing if you have. For those who are “comfortable” you must jump into action and join the effort.
1. To grasp the present
You want to change things; you want to move forward. You have taken seriously the indications of the Post-Synodal Exhortation on the Family, and you want the family to move forward, in order to transform the family of the Caribbean. You want to transform it today for tomorrow: working in the present to build the future.
And today, if you want to grasp the present, you must know how to describe it, how to understand it, in order to face tomorrow. To make the journey from today to tomorrow, you need the teaching on the family, and you can find it in Chapter Four of the Exhortation: the heart of it is there. Study it, examine it, and you will have the guidelines you need to move forward.
It is for today and tomorrow: but we also need yesterday. We cannot imagine tomorrow without considering the past. We can’t contemplate the future without reflecting on the past. You are getting ready to transform something that has been given to you by your elders. Your history comes from yesterday, your traditions come from yesterday. You have roots. And this is what I want to focus on for a moment: you can’t do anything in the present, or in the future, if you are not rooted in the past, in your history, in your culture, in your family; if you don’t have deep-seated roots. It’s from your roots that you will get the strength to continue. None of us, neither you nor I, was manufactured in a laboratory: we have a history, we have roots. And everything we do, the results we achieve, the beauty we create in the future, all comes from those roots.
A poet concludes his great poem with this verse: “Everything the tree produces, derives from what is beneath it”. Look back, so as to have roots; refer to your grandparents and your elders. Talk to them. And then bring it all with you into the future. To transform: but there you will have roots, the strength to transform the family. It is a transforming harmony. We cannot transform without harmony.
2. Amoris Laetitia
I told you that the heart of Amoris Laetitia is in Chapter Four. How to experience love. How to live the love of the family. Discuss Chapter Four among yourselves. There, you will find much strength to go forward and to transform things. And don’t forget something else: love has a strength all its own. And love never ends. Saint Paul says: Faith and hope will end when we are united with the Lord, but love will continue with Him (cf. 1 Cor 13:13). You are transforming something that is for all eternity. It is precisely this strength of love that will remain forever. You have a lot of work to do! Keep going. May God bless you. I pray for you, and I ask you please do not forget to pray for me.
“I have called you by name” (Is 43:1). The first reason not to fear is the fact that God has called us by name. The angel, God’s messenger, called Mary by name. When God calls someone by name, he also reveals to the person his vocation, his plan of holiness and fulfilment, through which the person becomes a gift to others and is made unique.
The continuous presence of divine grace encourages us to embrace our vocation with confidence; our vocation demands a commitment of faithfulness that needs to be renewed each day.