Here is a translation of the Holy Father’s words, given at around 7:00 pm on Saturday in the Lourdes Grotto of the Vatican Gardens, to a group of youths of the Diocese of Rome in search of their vocation.
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First of all, I apologize for being late, but the truth is that I didn’t notice the time. I was in such an interesting conversation that I didn’t notice the time. I’m sorry! This isn’t done, punctuality must be maintained.
I thank you for this visit, this visit to Our Lady who is so important in our life. And she accompanies us also in our definitive choice, our vocational choice, because she accompanied her Son on his vocational path which was so hard, so painful. She accompanies us always.
When a Christian says to me, not that he doesn’t love Our Lady, but that it doesn’t occur to him to seek Our Lady or to pray to Our Lady, I feel sad. I remember once, almost 40 years ago, I was in Belgium, in a congress, and there was a couple of catechists, both university professors, with children, a beautiful family, and they spoke of Jesus Christ so well. And, at a certain point, I said: “And devotion to Our Lady?” “But we have gone beyond that stage. We know Jesus Christ so much that we have no need of Our Lady.” And what came to my mind and heart was: “But … poor orphans!” It’s so, no? Because a Christian without Our Lady is an orphan. Also a Christian without the Church is an orphan. A Christian is in need of these two women, two women Mothers, two virgin women: the Church and Our Lady. And to make a “test” of a correct Christian vocation, one must ask oneself: how is my relation with these two Mothers?, with Mother Church and with Mother Mary. This is not a “pious” thought, no, it is pure theology. This is theology. How is my relation with the Church, with my Mother Church, with the Holy, Hierarchical Mother Church? And how is my relation with Our Lady, who is my Mommy, my Mother?
This does us good: we must never leave her and go on our own. I wish you a good journey of discernment. The Lord has his vocation for each one of us, the place where He wants us to live our life. But we must seek and find it, and then continue to go forward.
I would like to add something else – beyond that of the Church and Our Lady – is the meaning of the definitive. This is important for us, because we are living in a culture of the provisional: yes, this, but for a time, and for another time … Will you marry? Yes, yes, but until love lasts, then each one to his own home again …
A Bishop told me that a boy, a youth, a young professional said to him: ”I would like to become a priest, but only for ten years.” The provisional is like that. We are afraid of the definitive. And to choose a vocation, any vocation, also those vocations “of state,” marriage, consecrated life, the priesthood, one must choose with a perspective of the definitive. Opposed to this is the culture of the provisional. It is a part of culture that we must live in this time, but we must live it and overcome it.
Very good. Also on this aspect of the definitive, I think that one who has his way more secure is the Pope! Because the Pope … where will the Pope end up? There, in that tomb, no?
I thank you so much for this visit, and I invite you to pray to Our Lady or, I don’t know, to sing … the “Salve Regina” … Do you know how to sing it? Shall we sing the “Salve Regina” all together to Our Lady? Let’s go!
Now I give the Blessing to you, to your families, to all and I ask you, please, to pray for me.
Thank you. Thank you so much! Good journey![Original text: Italian] [Translation by ZENIT]