Pope Encourages Young People to Keep a Spiritual Journal

Message for the 2017 World Youth Day

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Pope Francis encouraged young people to keep a “spiritual journal every day and to “cultivate praise.” In his Message for the 2017 World Youth Day, published on March 21, the Pontiff invites to “remain connected” to God. The Church is not a “flashmob,” and life must not be a “reality show,” he also stressed.
“I have (. . .) at heart that you young people can walk not only by remembering the past, but by having (. . .) courage in the present and hope for the future,” writes the Holy Father in his long Message for the WYD that will be observed at the diocesan level on Palm Sunday, April 9, on the theme “ For He who is mighty has done great things for me” (Luke 1:49).
To be young does not mean, in fact, “to be disconnected from the past,” he explains. The facts of the past must be “a dynamic reality, on which to reflect and to draw a teaching and meaning for our present and our future,” he continues. It is about “discovering the red thread of the love of God that connects our whole existence.”
To do so, he offers suggestions to “remain connected”: “At the end of each day we can pause for a few minutes to recall the good moments, the challenges, what went well and what went wrong. Thus, before God and ourselves, we can express sentiments of gratitude, of repentance and of trust by writing them, if you wish, in a notebook, a sort of spiritual journal.”
The Pope recommends to “know the Bible well, the Word of God, to read it each day and compare it with your life.” He also invites to “cultivate praise, to not be fixed solely on problems and difficulties. In the dynamic of life, the supplications of today will become motives for thanksgiving tomorrow.”
Decide Your Future!
To those who are “particularly wounded by life’s circumstance, who would like to ‘reconfigure’ their life, the Pope says: “there are no Saints without a past, or sinners without a future. A pearl is born in the wound of an oyster!”
However, to have a past “is not the same thing as to have a history,” says Pope Francis, putting one on guard against the excesses of the social networks: “Young people’s faces (. . .) appear in numerous photographs that speak of more or less real events, but we do not know in all of that what is a ‘history,’ an experience that can be told, having an objective and a meaning.
“Do not let yourselves by mislead by this false image of reality! he insists. Be protagonists of your history, decide your future!” And the Pontiff assures: “You young people can also do great things, take on great responsibilities, if you recognize the merciful and all powerful action of God in your life.”
“Your history also has its place in the history of the Church,” continues the Pope, stressing that “a genuine experience of the Church is not like a flashmob, where one gets together, does a performance and then each one goes his own way. The Church bears in herself a long Tradition, which is transmitted from generation to generation, being enriched at the same time by each one’s experience.”
A “Reality Show” Life
“A society that only values the present also tends to devalue all that is of the past, as for instance the institutions of marriage, of consecrated life, of the priestly mission,” adds the Pontiff in his Message: “These end by being seen as bereft of meaning, as exceeded models.
Pope Francis exhorts young people to not let themselves “be deceived!” “One thinks that one lives better in so-called ‘open’ situations, behaving in life as in a reality show, without an objective and without an end.” However, “to accord the value due to the past” helps to “plan a future of happiness.”
“Our time does not need ‘couch potato young people,’” said the Pope, taking up the expression used in the 2016 Krakow WYD. He gives Mary as a model, who “is not the sort of person that, to be at ease, is in need of a couch where she can feel well installed and sheltered.”
Finally, the Holy Father mentions the October 2018 Synod, on the theme: “Young People, Faith and Discernment of Vocations.” “We will ask ourselves about the way that you, young people, live the experience of faith in the midst of the challenges of our time. And we will also address the question of the way in which you can mature a life project, by discerning your vocation, understood in the wide sense, namely, to marriage, in the secular and professional environment, or in consecrated life and the priesthood.”
On ZENIT’s Web page:
Full text: https://zenit.org/articles/pope-francis-message-for-32nd-world-youth-day/

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Anne Kurian-Montabone

Laurea in Teologia (2008) alla Facoltà di teologia presso l'Ecole cathedrale di Parigi. Ha lavorato 8 anni per il giornale settimanale francese France Catholique" e participato per 6 mese al giornale "Vocation" del servizio vocazionale delle chiesa di Parigi. Co-autore di un libro sulla preghiera al Sacro Cuore. Dall'ottobre 2011 è Collaboratrice della redazione francese di Zenit."

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