(ZENIT News /Vatican City, 03.08.2022).- Over the first six days of August 2022 the yearly Medjugorje Youth Festival is being held in that locality of Bosnia-Herzegovina and which has gathered some 100,000 young people from all over the world.
The Festival was suspended during the pandemic, but has been taken up again this year. Local Authorities report that some 50,000 young people are in that city, associated with alleged Marian apparitions. Aware of the importance of such a Catholic Festival, the Holy Father wrote a Message to the participants.
Here is the Message with highlights in bold added by ZENIT.
* * *
Pope’s Message to the Participants in Medjugorje’s 2022 Youth Festival
At that time, the evangelist Matthew tells us, addressing all, Jesus said: “Come to Me, all who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from Me; for I am gentle and lowly of heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light”(Matthew 11:28-30). As at that time, Jesus also speaks to you today, dear young people, and through the motto of this year’s Festival, inspired by the just mentioned Gospel, addresses His invitation to you: “Learn from Me, and you will find peace.”
The Lord addresses these words not only to the Apostles or to some of their friends, but to all those that are exhausted and overwhelmed. He knows how difficult life can be and that there is a multitude of things that oppress our heart: many disappointments, wounds of the past, burdens we carry, injustices we endure and numerous uncertainties and concerns. In face of all this, we have Jesus, who calls us: “Come to Me and learn from Me.” This call requires that we start and trust, and it doesn’t allow us to stay in the same place, rigid and scared, given life’s challenges. It sounds easy, but in dark moments we simply shut ourselves in ourselves. And it is in fact from this loneliness that Jesus wants to extricate us, and that’s why He says to us: “Come.”
The way out lies in our relationship with the Lord, looking at Him who truly loves us. However, it’s not enough to come out of oneself, but it’s necessary to know in what direction to go, given that there are so many seductive offers, which promise a better future; however, they leave us again and again in loneliness. For this reason, the Lord tells us where to go: “Come to Me.”
Dear friends, go to Him with an open heart, take His yoke upon you and learn from Him. Go to the Master so that you can become His disciples and heirs of His peace. Take His yoke upon you, with which you will discover God’s Will and shall become participants in the mystery of His Cross and Resurrection. The “yoke” of which Christ speaks is the law of love, it’s the commandment He left His disciples: love one another as I have loved you (John 15:12). Because the real remedy for man’s wounds is a life based on fraternal love, which finds its source in the love of God.
By walking with Him and following Him, you will learn from Him. He is the Lord, who doesn’t impose on others a burden that He himself doesn’t carry. He turns to the humble, little ones and poor because He himself made himself poor and humble. If we really want to learn, we must humble ourselves and acknowledge our own ignorance and pride, those moments in which we think we can achieve everything ourselves, with our own strength, and especially keep our ear open to the Master’s words. In this way, we begin to know His Heart, His love, His way of thinking, seeing and acting. However, to be close to the Lord and to imitate Him calls for courage.
Dearests don’t be afraid, go to Him with all you bear in your heart. He is the only Lord who comforts us and who offers us true peace. Follow the example of Mary, His Mother and our Mother, who will lead you to Him. Entrust yourselves to Her, who is the Star of the Sea, the sign of hope in the rough sea, who leads us to the port of peace. She, who knows her Son, will help you to imitate Him in your relationship with God the Father, in compassion for our neighbours and in the awareness to what we are called: to be children of God. At this moment, in the height of summer, the Lord invites you to go on vacation with Him, to the most special place that exists, which is His own Heart.
Dear young people, while you rest in Jesus Christ these days, I entrust you all to the Blessed Virgin Mary, our heavenly Mother, so that through Her intercession and example, you are able to take upon yourselves the gentle and easy burden of the imitation of Christ. May God the Father’s gaze accompany you, so that in your encounter with others you are witnesses of peace, which in turn you will receive as a gift. I pray for this intention and I bless you and I also commend myself to your prayers.