Here is a translation of Pope Francis’ message to a gathering of European young people, the Guides and Scouts of Europe.
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To the Guides and Scouts of Europe gathered at Saint-Evroult-Notre-Dame-du-Bois on the occasion of their 10th Anniversary Meeting from August 1 to August 10, 2014
I greet you with joy while you are gathered, this year in France, for the Euro-jamboree, to renew the bonds that unite you to God, to others and to the whole of creation.
You have chosen as your theme the passage of John’s Gospel in which two disciples of [John] the Baptist ask Jesus: “Teacher, where are you staying?” (John 1:38), and the Lord answers them: “Come and see” (1:39). To know Jesus, it is necessary to start to know him. Once on the way, we perceive that God makes himself known in different ways: in the beauty of creation, when He intervenes with love in our history, in relations of fraternity and of service that we engage in with our neighbor.
At Rio de Janeiro, I indicated three important stages needed to answer Jesus’ appeal: To go, [to do so] without fear, and to serve. If we accept the Lord’s invitation to go to Him and to experience his love which fills our hearts with joy, then He will take away all fear: fear of God, fear of the other, fear of facing the challenges of life. And He will send us to proclaim his love to the ends of the earth, to serve our neighbor in the most remote fringes.
However, all this is not possible unless we cultivate friendship with Jesus, seeking first of all to encounter Him, above all in his Word and in the Sacraments. The Sacraments of Baptism, of Confirmation and of the Eucharist are a unique saving event in which we are configured to Jesus Christ, dead and risen, and become new creatures, members of the Church. How many generations owe to scout pedagogy their growth on the path of sanctity, the practice of virtues and, in particular, greatness of soul.
Your celebration coincides with the centenary of the outbreak of World War I. I invite you to pray so that unity and peace will come to Europe and the world. You are real actors of this world, and not just spectators! I encourage you not to be afraid to face the challenges, in order to safeguard Christian values, in particular, the defense of life, development, the dignity of the person, the fight against poverty and so many other battles that we must fight every day.
And when the going becomes more difficult, remember that you are sons and daughters of the Church. The Church is your Mother, she supports you and counts on you! You are called to love her and to serve her in the joy and generosity appropriate to your youth. May the Virgin Mary accompany you with her tenderness, now and during your whole life.
From the Vatican, July 3, 2014
FRANCIS[Original text: French] [Translation by ZENIT]