Pope Francis has urged young people to follow Jesus to overcome a prevailing “culture of the provisional” that feeds a lack of commitment and superficiality in taking responsibility.
Speaking this afternoon to an estimated 20,000 young people from the diocese of Molise and Abruzzo at the Shrine of Castelpetroso in southern Italy, the Holy Father called on the young faithful present to look out for what really matters in life and that which remains stable over time.
“Contemporary society and its prevailing cultural models – the ‘culture of the provisional’ – do not provide a climate conducive to the formation of stable life choices with solid bonds, built on the rock of love and responsibility rather than on the sand of emotion,” the Pope said.
Such a culture, he added, places everything in question and breaks “with relative ease” the possibility of pursuing life paths “with commitment and dedication.”
“This feeds superficiality in taking responsibility,” he said, “because in the depths of the soul they risk being regarded as something from which we can still be free.”
But he stressed the human heart aspires to “great things” and urged young people to “take courage” and pursue their future “together with Jesus.”
“Alone we cannot do it,” the Pope said. “Faced with the pressure of events and fashions, we will not be able to find the right path, and even if we could find it, we would not have enough strength to persevere…
“And here comes the invitation of the Lord Jesus: ‘If you want … follow me.’ He invites us to accompany us on the journey.”
The Pope said that only with Jesus, praying and following him, can each person “find clarity of vision and the strength” to carry on. “He loves us, definitively, he has chosen us definitively, he has given himself to each of us definitively,” the Pope said. “He is our defender and brother and will be our only judge.
“How nice to be able to face the vicissitudes of life in the company of Jesus, to have with us his person and his message! He does not take away autonomy or freedom; on the contrary, he strengthens our fragility, allowing us to be truly free, free to do good, strong to continue doing so, able to forgive and to ask for forgiveness.”
Journeying through life with Jesus does not “deny difficulties and problems,” he stressed, but to see them “as temporary and surmountable.”
The Pope closed by pointing out that Mary “always helps us when we work and when we are in search of work, when we have clear ideas and when we are confused, when prayer comes spontaneously and when the heart is dry.
“Mary is the Mother of God, our Mother, and Mother of the Church. Many men and women, young and old have turned to you to say thank you and supplicate a favor,” he said. “Mary leads us to Jesus, our peace. We have recourse to you, trusting in his help, with courage and hope.”
The Shrine of Castelpetroso is dedicated to Our Lady of Sorrows who was proclaimed patron saint of the area by Paul VI in 1973. John Paul II celebrated Mass at the shrine on March 19, 1995. The Virgin Mary appeared there in 1888.
On ZENIT’s webpage:
Translation of full text of Pope’s address to young people: http://www.zenit.org/en/articles/pope-s-address-to-young-people-of-abruzzo-and-molise