On his first full day in Poland today, Pope Francis formally addressed the pilgrims twice: with a homily at a Mass in Czestechowa and at the official welcome ceremony of World Youth Day in Krakow.
On Wednesday, he had a special video connection with Italian young people who are in Krakow.
Here’s some of what he’s been saying:
Nothing is more beautiful than seeing the enthusiasm, dedication, zeal and energy with which so many young people live their lives. When Jesus touches a young person’s heart, he or she becomes capable of truly great things.
Mercy always has a youthful face! Because a merciful heart is motivated to move beyond its comfort zone. A merciful heart can go out and meet others; it is ready to embrace everyone.
So I ask you: Are you looking for empty thrills in life, or do you want to feel a power that can give you a lasting sense of life and fulfilment? Empty thrills or the power of grace? To find fulfilment, to gain new strength, there is a way. It is not a thing or an object, but a person, and he is alive. His name is Jesus Christ.
To be attracted by power, by grandeur, by appearances, is tragically human. It is a great temptation that tries to insinuate itself everywhere. But to give oneself to others, eliminating distances, dwelling in littleness and living the reality of one’s everyday life: this is exquisitely divine.
God saves us, then by making himself little, near and real.
At Cana, as here in Jasna Góra, Mary offers us her nearness and helps us to discover what we need to live life to the full. Now as then, she does this with a mother’s love, by her presence and counsel, teaching us to avoid hasty decisions and grumbling in our communities. As the Mother of a family, she wants to keep us together.
With Italian youth
You speak of a very common problem among children and also among persons who aren’t children: cruelty. But look, children are also cruel sometimes, and they have that capacity to wound you where they will do the most hurt: to wound your heart, to wound your dignity … Can one forgive completely? It’s a grace we must ask of the Lord. We, on are own, cannot: we make the effort, you made it, but forgiveness is a grace the Lord gives you, to forgive your enemy, to forgive the one who has wounded you, who has hurt you.
Peace builds bridges; hatred is the builder of walls. You must choose in life: either to build bridges or to build walls. Walls divide and hatred grows: when there is division, hatred grows. Bridges unite, and when there is a bridge, hatred can go away, because I can hear the other, I can speak with the other.
On ZENIT’s Web page:
Full text of welcome ceremony address: https://zenit.org/articles/popes-address-at-welcome-ceremony-with-youth/
Full text of homily: https://zenit.org/articles/popes-homily-at-holy-mass-in-czestechowa/
Transcription of q-and-a with Italian youth: https://zenit.org/articles/text-of-popes-q-and-a-with-italian-youth/