Youth: You are the now of God

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Papa Francesco - Cerimonia Apertura GMG nel Campo Santa Maria La Antigua 24/01/2019 Vatican Media

You are the now of God ( Ch.V, no. 178)

In the course of our journey, we have already had the opportunity to highlight that CHRISTUS VIVIT is a document written “for” young people and “with” young people. To affirm it – we remember it once again – was Pope Francis himself, who, right at the beginning of his Exhortation (cf. Ch. V, n. 4), “confides” to all of us that for the drafting of this magisterial text he “let himself be inspired by the richness of the Synod’s reflections and dialogues” which saw many young believers as protagonists, but also by the questions “of young non-believers” who in various ways wished to participate in the synodal reflection.

As in the Synod, the Pope continues to “look at young people with the attitude of Jesus, to discern in their life the signs of the action of the Spirit” ( DF, n. 64). Even today, we read in the final document of the synodal assembly, “God speaks to the Church and the world through young people, their creativity and their commitment, as well as their sufferings and their requests for help. With them we can read our age more prophetically and recognize the signs of the times; for this reason, young people are one of the “theological places” where the Lord makes us know some of his expectations and challenges for building tomorrow”( Ibid.).

The true center of gravity

The Pontiff addresses the young, in the “heart” of the Exhortation, chapter IV, to announce to them “the most important thing, the first thing, what should never be kept silent ” ( ChV. , N. 111), or (1) that God the Father is Love and that he loves all his creatures infinitely and unconditionally (cf. Ibid., Nn. 112-117); and, again, (2) that Jesus Christ, for love, gave himself on the cross so as to bring all his children back to the Father (cf. Ibid., nn. 118-123); and (3) that He, the Risen Christ, lives, is not a closed memory in the past, but “presence” that continually invites us to walk in the Spirit (cf. Ibid.,nn. 130-133) towards an ever new horizon (cf. Ibid., Nn. 124-129).

This is a message containing three great truths that all of us need constantly to keep hearing. (Ibid., N. 111) constitute the “great proclamation of the Gospel” ( Ibid. , N. 134) recalls the Pope, and not surprisingly they are placed by him in what we believe represents the “true center” of the Exhortation. “How do we live youth when we allow ourselves to be enlightened and transformed by the great proclamation of the Gospel? It is important to ask yourself this question, – exclaims Francis – because the youth, rather than a boast, is a gift from God: “Being young is a grace, a fortune”. It is a gift that we can squander meaninglessly, or receive with gratitude and live to the full. (Ibid. , N. 134)

The youth you are

“Youth”, continues the Holy Father, “is not an object that can be analyzed in abstract terms. In reality, “youth” does not exist, young people exist with their concrete lives”( Ibid. , N. 71). Sacred Scripture itself speaks to us of concrete young people: Joseph, Gideon, Samuel, Saul, David, Solomon, Jeremiah, Ruth (cf. Ibid. , Nn. 6-21), as well as of Mary (cf. Ibid. , No. 43-48) and the young Jesus (cf. Ibid. , No. 23-33). The meeting with “these concrete young” and one with “Saint youth” who were, in their time, real “change prophets” (cf. ibid. , No. 49-63), helps us to understand that in the eyes of God every young person is “special” ( Is34,4), is not “a” disposable “material” to be discarded, but His “now” (cf. Ibid. , N. 64 ff). A “now” capable of dreaming, because dreams inspire decisions and project towards the future by overcoming anxiety, resignation, and all forms of paralysis and immobility (cf. Ibid. , No. 136-143). A “now” able to live fully even this, to make the most of the opportunities that life offers using their own energy to good things (cf. ibid. , Nn. 144-149; nn. 158-178). And finally, an “now” capable of “taking root”, that is, capable of “discovering the living richness of the past, remembering it and using it for one’s own choices and possibilities” (cf. Ibid. , nn. 179-121).

If young, adults and elderly people walk together, then, the present is well-rooted, and from this position, it is possible to frequent the past and the future (cf. Ibid. , N. 199).

Antonio Donato, C.Ss.R.

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