Full text: Pope's Address to Youth in Morelia

«You are the wealth of this country, and when you doubt this, look to Jesus»

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Here is a Vatican translation of the Pope’s address at his meeting with youth this afternoon in Morelia, Mexico. A ZENIT transcription and translation of his off-the-cuff comments is included in brackets.
[Good afternoon. Young people of Mexico, you are here, you are watching on television, you are listening. And I want to send a greeting and a blessing to the thousands of youth that in the Archdiocese of Guadalajara are gathered in the St. John Paul II Plaza following the event here. Like them, there are so many others, but they told me that there are thousands and thousands gathered there listening. Thus, we are in two stadiums. The St. John Paul II Plaza in Guadalajara and us here. And then, so many others.
[I knew about your questions because they sent me a draft of what, more or less, you were going to say. That’s the truth – why say something else? {Laughter} But as you were speaking, I also was taking some notes of things that seemed important to me, so that they weren’t left up in the air if they weren’t in what I had summarized of what you had told me and as an answer.
[I’ll tell you that] when I arrived in this country I received a warm welcome. I saw something which I have sensed for a long time: the vitality, the joy, and the festive spirit of the Mexican people. And now [ahorita]… after listening to you, but particularly after seeing you, I am also certain about something else, something I said to the President of the nation when I arrived. One of Mexico’s greatest treasures is that it has a youthful face: its young people. Yes, you are the wealth of this land. [Take note,] I did not say the hope of this land, but its wealth.
[A mountain can have a wealth of minerals, which are going to be put to use in the progress of humanity, that is its richness. But this wealth has to be transformed in hope with the work of the miners when they take out these minerals. You are the richness. It has to be transformed into hope.
[And Daniela at the end, launched a challenge and also gave us a clue about hope. Everyone who spoke, when they pointed out the difficulties, the things that happen, they spoke of a great truth, which all of us can live. But we cannot live without hope.] You cannot live in hope, or look to the future if you do not first know how to value yourselves, if you do not feel that your life, your hands, your history, is worth the effort. [To feel this that Alberto said: “with my hands, with my heart and with my mind I can build hope.” If I don’t feel this, hope cannot enter into my heart.] Hope is born when you are able to experience that all is not lost; and for this to happen it is necessary to start “at home”, to begin with yourself. Not everything is lost. I am not lost; I am worth something, I am worth a lot. [I ask you to be in silence now. Each one of you answer in your heart. Is it true that not all is lost? Am I lost? Am I worth something? Am I worth a little? A lot?] The biggest threats to hope are those words which devalue you, [which sort of suck the value out of you and you end up as if on the ground. Is that not true? Sort of wrinkled, with a saddened heart. Words] which make you feel second rate, [if not fourth rate]. The biggest threat to hope is when you feel that you do not matter to anybody or that you have been left aside. [This is the great difficulty for hope. When in a family or in a society or in school, or with your group of friends, they make you feel that they don’t care about you. And this is hard, painful. But it happens. Doesn’t it? Yes or no? Yes, it happens. This kills [us], it diminishes us and this is the door through which so much suffering comes in.] [But there is another] principal threat to hope, [this hope that the richness which you are grows and gives fruit, which] is to allow yourself to believe that you begin to be valuable when you start wearing the right clothes, the latest brands and fashions, or when you enjoy prestige, are important because you have money; but in the depths of your heart you do not believe that you are worthy of kindness or love. [And your heart intuits this. Hope is muzzled by what they make you believe, they don’t let you let it out.] The biggest threat is when a person feels that they must have money to buy everything, including the love of others. The biggest threat is to believe that by having a big car you will be happy. [Is that true, that by having a nice car you’ll be happy?] You are the wealth of Mexico, you are the wealth of the Church. [And I’m not, allow me to use a phrase from my country, I’m not ‘buttering up’, I’m not flattering you.]  I understand that often it is difficult to feel your value when you are continually exposed to the loss of friends or relatives at the hands of the drug trade, of drugs themselves, of criminal organizations that sow terror. It is hard to feel the wealth of a nation when there are no opportunities for dignified work, [—Alberto, you said it clearly —] no possibilities for study or advancement, when you feel your rights are being trampled on, which then leads you to extreme situations. It is difficult to appreciate the value of a place when, because of your youth, you are used for selfish purposes, seduced by promises that end up being untrue, [which are soap bubbles. It is hard to feel rich like this. Richness you carry within and hope you carry within. But it isn’t easy because of all that I’m saying and all that  you said.
Opportunities for work are lacking, Alberto and Roberto said] Nonetheless, despite all this, I will never tire of saying, You are the wealth of Mexico.
[Roberto you said a phrase that had gotten by me when I read your notes. I want to pause here. You said that you lost something. And you didn’t say that you lost your cell phone, that you lost your wallet with money, that you lost the train because you arrived late. You lost, we lose the enchantment of dreaming together. And for this richness moved by hope to go forward, we must walk together, we must encounter each other, we must dream. Don’t lose the joy of dreaming. Dare to dream. Dream, which is not the same as being a sleepy-head, eh? That no.] Don’t think I am saying this, [that you are the richness of Mexico and that this richness with hope goes forward] because I am good, or  because I have concise ideas about it; no dear friends, it is not like that. I say this to you and I am convinced of it. And do you know why? Because, like you, I believe in Jesus Christ. [And I think that Daniela was very strong when she spoke to us of this. I believe in Jesus Christ and that’s why I tell you this.] And it is he who continually renews in me this hope, it is he who continually renews my outlook. It is he who [awakens in me, that is, in each one of us, the delight of enjoying, the delight of dreaming, the delight of working together. It is him who] continually invites me to a conversion of heart. Yes, my friends, I say this because in Jesus I have found the One who is able to bring out the best in me. Hand in hand with him, we can move forward, hand in hand with him we can begin again and again, hand in hand with him we find the strength to say: it is a lie to believe that the only way to live, or to be young, is to entrust oneself to drug dealers or others who do nothing but sow destruction and death. [This is a lie and we say it] hand in hand with Jesus Christ we can say: it is a lie that the only way to live as young people here is in poverty and exclusion; in the exclusion of opportunities, in the exclusion of spaces, in the exclusion of training and education, in the exclusion of hope. It is Jesus Christ who refutes all attempts to render you useless or to be mere mercenaries of other people’s ambitions. [They are other’s ambitions that marginalize you to use you in all of these things I’ve said and that you know of and that end in destruction. — And the only one who can hold tightly to my hand is Jesus Christ. He’s the one who makes this richness be transformed to hope.] You have asked me for a word of hope, and the one word I have to give you, [the one that is at the foundation of everything] is Jesus Christ. When everything seems too much, when it seems that the world is crashing down around you, embrace his Cross, draw close to him and please, never let go of his hand; please, never leave him, [even if he’s carrying you forward by dragging you. And if you fall at some point, allow yourself to be lifted up by him. Mountain climbers have a very beautiful song that I like to repeat to youth. As they go up, they sing it. ‘In the art of ascending, triumph is not in never falling but in not remaining fallen.’ This is the art. And who is the only one who can grab hold of your hand so that you don’t remain fallen? Jesus Christ. He’s the only one. Jesus Christ — who sometimes will send you a brother or sister to speak to you and help you. Don’t hide your hand when you’ve fallen. Don’t tell him, ‘don’t look at me because I’m dirty. Don’t look at me because there’s nothing that can help me.’ Just let your hand be taken, and take this hand. And the richness that you have within, dirty, soiled, given up on, is going to again, with hope, to give its fruit, but always, always clinging to the hand of Jesus Christ. Don’t forget it. In the art of ascending, triumph is not in never falling but in not remaining fallen. Do not allow yourselves to remain fallen. Never. Ok?
[And if you see a friend who slipped in life and fell, go and offer him your hand. Offer it with dignity. Get beside him, beside her. Listen to him. Don’t tell him, ‘I’ve got the solution.’ No. As a friend, slowly, encourage him with your words, encourage him with your listening. This medicine that is being forgotten — the “listening-therapy.” Let him speak, let him tell you about it, and then little by little he’s going to hold out his hand and you are going to help him in the name of Jesus Christ. But if you go too forcefully and start preaching to him and giving it to him and giving it to him, poor guy, you’re going to leave him worse off than when you found him. Is that clear?
[Never let go of Jesus Christ’s hand. Never separate yourself from him. And if you separate yourself, get up and go forward. He understands what these things are.] Hand in hand with him it is possible to live fully, by holding his hand it is possible to believe that [life is worth it, that] it is worth the effort to give your best, to be leaven, salt and light among your friends, neighbourhoods, and your community, [among our family. Later, Rosario, I’m going to speak a little about this that you said about the family.] For this reason, dear friends, holding the hand of Jesus I ask you to not let yourselves be excluded, do not allow yourselves to be devalued, do not let them treat you like a commodity. [Jesus counseled us on this, to not let ourselves be excluded, to not let ourselves be devalued. Be shrewd as serpents and simple as doves. The two virtues together. Youth aren’t lacking in liveliness, sometimes they are lacking astuteness, so that they aren’t naive. The two things, shrewd but simple, good.] Of course, [following this path,] you may not be able to have the latest car model at the door, you will not have pockets filled with money, but you will have something that no one can take away from you, which is the experience of being loved, embraced and accompanied. [It is the delight of enjoying encountering one another, the delight of dreaming in this encounter with all.] It is the experience of being family, of feeling that one is part of a community. [And it is the experience of looking the world in the face, with your head held high. Without the car, without money, but with your head held high. Dignity. Three words that we are going to repeat: richness, which was given to you, hope because you want to open yourself to hope, dignity. Let’s repeat them. Richness, hope, dignity. The richness that God has given you, you are the richness of Mexico. The hope that Jesus Christ gives. And the dignity that is given you by not allowing yourselves to be flattered, or being a commodity for others’ pockets.] Today the Lord continues to call you, he continues to draw you to him, just as he did with the Indian, Juan Diego. He invites you to build a shrine. A shrine that is not a physical place but rather a community, a shrine called “Parish”, a shrine called, “Nation”. Being a community, a family, and knowing that we are citizens is one of the best antidotes to all that threatens us, because it makes us feel that we are a part of the great family of God. This is not an invitation to flee and enclose ourselves, [to escape from the threats or the challenges of life], but, on the contrary, to go out and to invite others, to go out and proclaim to others that being young in Mexico is the greatest wealth, and consequently, it cannot be sacrificed. [And because this richness is capable of having hope and giving us dignity. Again, the three words: Richness, hope, and dignity. Richness, which God has given us and we must make increase.] Jesus [the one who gives us hope,] would never ask us to be assassins; rather, he calls us to be disciples. He would never send us out to death, but rather everything in him speaks of life. A life in a family, life in a community; families and communities for the good of society. [And here Rosario, I take up again what you said, something so beautiful. In a family, we learn closeness, we learn solidarity, we learn to share, to discern, to bear one another’s burdens, to fight and to make up, to argue and to hug each other and kiss each other. The family is the first school of the nation. And in the family is this richness that you have. The family is the one who watches over this richness. And in the family you will find hope because Jesus is there. And in the family, you will have dignity. Never, never leave aside families. The family is the cornerstone in the building of a great nation. You are richness, you have hope and you dream. Rosario also spoke of dreaming. Do you dream of having a family? [Crowd cheers] I almost didn’t hear the answer, eh?!] You are the wealth of this country, and when you doubt this, look to Jesus, [who is hope,] he who destroys all efforts to make you useless or mere instruments of other people’s ambitions.
[I thank you for this meeting and I ask you to pray for me. Thank you.]

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