Remember that God is always your friend, even when you let Him down. Therefore, don’t worry if you’ve fallen, get back up and start fresh.
Pope Francis stressed this during his Jubilee Mass for young people this morning, reminding them that the Lord is faithful to His friends and believes in them.
“Even if you disappoint Him and walk away from Him, Jesus continues to want the best for you and to remain close to you; He believes in you even more than you believe in yourself.
This, the Pope said, is an example of genuine love that Jesus teaches to us. “This is very important! Because the biggest threat to growing up well comes from thinking that no one cares about us – and that is always a sadness – from feeling that we are all alone. The Lord, on the other hand, is always with you and He is happy to be with you.”
The Pope then gave the teenagers some practical advice in times of difficulty.
Practical Advice: Get Back Up
“When loving seems hard, when it is difficult to say no to something wrong, look up at Jesus on the Cross, embrace the Cross and don’t ever let go of His hand. He will point you ever higher, and pick you up whenever you fall. Throughout life we will fall many times, because we are sinners, we are weak. But there is always the hand of God who picks us up, who raises us up. Jesus wants us to be up on our feet! Think of the beautiful word Jesus said to the paralytic: ‘Arise!’”
“God has created us to be on our feet,” Francis continued, recalling, “There is a lovely song that mountain climbers sing as they climb. It goes like this: ‘In climbing, the important thing is not to not fall, but to not remain fallen!’ To have the courage to pick oneself up, to allow oneself to be raised up by Jesus. And His hand is often given through the hand of a friend, through the hand of one’s parents, through the hand of those who accompany us throughout life. Jesus Himself is present in them. So arise! God wants us up on our feet, ever on our feet!”
The Pope asked the young people: ‘Do you wish to say yes to Jesus’ invitation to be His disciples? Do you wish to be His faithful friends?’ The true friends of Jesus, he noted, stand out essentially by genuine love, “not some ‘pie in the sky’ love, but rather one which shines forth in their way of life, through their actions.
“Those who are not real and genuine and who speak of love are like characters is a soap opera, some fake love story,” he said. Asking them if they want to to experience the Lord’s love, Francis urged them to learn from Jesus, for His words teach us how to love.
Don’t Be Content With Mediocrity
Each day, the Holy Father stressed, we must commit ourselves to learning how to love, which is a beautiful endeavor, but is not easy and requires effort.
Look to the Lord, who is never outdone in generosity. We receive so many gifts from Him, and every day we should thank Him… Let me ask you something. Do you thank the Lord every day? Even if we forget to do so, he never forgets, each day, to give us some special gift. It is not something material and tangible that we can use, but something even greater, a life-long gift. What does the Lord give to us? He offers us His faithful friendship, which He will never take back.
The Pope also acknowledged that at this point in their lives, they feel also a great longing for freedom.
“Do not be content with mediocrity, with “simply going with the flow”, with being comfortable and laid back. Don’t believe those who would distract you from the real treasure, which you are, by telling you that life is beautiful only if you have many possessions.”
Love, the Pope explained, is a free gift which calls for an open heart. It is “a responsibility, but a noble responsibility which is lifelong; it is a daily task for those who can achieve great dreams!”
“Woe to your people who do not know how to dream, who do not dare to dream! If a person of your age is not able to dream, if they have already gone into retirement… this is not good.”
The Pope reminded them that they will do amazing things if they prepare well, starting now, by living their youth and all its gifts to the fullest and without fear of hard work.
“Be like sporting champions, who attain high goals by quiet daily effort and practice,” he said, advising: “Let your daily programme be the works of mercy. Enthusiastically practice them, so as to be champions in life, champions in love! In this way you will be recognized as disciples of Jesus. In this way, you will have the identification card of the Christian. And I promise you: your joy will be complete.”
Also, during his Regina Caeli address, Pope Francis urged the young people gathered to “go forward with courage!”
On ZENIT’s Web page:
Full Regina Caeli Address: https://zenit.org/articles/regina-caeli-on-embracing-joy-of-christian-identity/