Pope’s Video-Message for Cuban Youth Gathered in Havana

‘Cuban youth: Open yourselves to great things! Do not be afraid..’

L'Osservatore Romano

Below is a ZENIT-provided translation of the transcription of Pope Francis’ words last night in his video-message to Cuban youth gathered in Havana, who organized their own youth gathering to coincide with the World Youth Day events underway in the Polish city of Krakow:

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Dear Young people, gathered in Havana, I join you with much hope at this moment in which you are attuned to the universal Church, which will have her young heart in Krakow. I trust that these days will be for all a special occasion to foster the culture of encounter and mutual forgiveness. This means to “cause trouble’: this means to dream, and young people must “cause trouble.”

I suggest that you live the experience of listening with care to the Gospel, and then to be able to make it come alive in your lives, in those of your family and your friends. You know that the Gospel transforms the heart: let yourselves be transformed by its words, which “are spirit and life”; those words that are concrete, concrete as life, because at your age you have already realized that life is concrete; it’s not dreams, life is concrete; either you take it as it comes, concrete, or you fail.

When you pray the Via Crucis, remember that we cannot love God if we do not love our brothers and this, simply, because the Cross is the certainty of God’s faithful love for us. That is, the Cross is a concrete love for a concrete life, a love so great that it is capable of entering in our sin, in our misery, of forgiving the sin<and> of curing the misery. The Cross is a love that enters in our suffering and gives us the strength to bear it; it also enters death to vanquish it and save us.

When you cross the Holy Door, let yourselves be infected by this love – if a doctor is listening to me he is going to reprimand me – get sick, get sick with love, thus you will learn to always look at others with mercy, with closeness, with tenderness, especially those who suffer and are in need of help. You will be before the Sacramental Jesus: accompany Him, because in Him, and only in Him, you will find the strength to follow the most beautiful and constructive plan of happiness of our lives. Because, do you know? Love is constructive, love does not even destroy the enemy; love always builds. And when the Bishops send you as Witnesses of Mercy, remember that the loveliest desire of the Master is that you not be afraid of anything. Boys and girls, do not be afraid of anything; be free of the ties of this world and proclaim to all, to the sick, to the elderly, to the sad that the Church is weeping with them, and that Jesus is able to give them new life, to resurrect them.

Perhaps you might be helped by the Venerable Father Felix Varela’s legacy: you “are the sweet hope of the homeland.” The little Father was risky! But he says it to you; he does not say it to me; you are “the sweet hope of the homeland.” To be bearers of hope, it is necessary that you do not lose the capacity to dream. Remember that in life’s objectivity there must be that capacity to dream; one who does not have the capacity to dream is shut-in on himself (cf. Greeting to the Young People of the “Father Felix Varela” Cultural Center, Havana, September 20, 2015). I would add something more: one who does not have the capacity to dream has already retired. Young people who do not have this capacity to dream and go forward are already retired and are not even useful as confetti in the celebration of carnival.

Cuban youth: Open yourselves to great things! Do not be afraid; do not be pernickety. Dream that with you the world can be different. Dream that with you Cuba can be different and every day better! Do not give up. In this commitment it is important, it is necessary to open one’s heart and mind to the hope that Jesus gives.

And never forget that that hope is patient; hope is able to be patient to achieve a plan, but neither must you forget that it gives life, it is fruitful. And with that hope you will not be sterile, but will give life to others, you will make the homeland, you will make the Church, you will do great things. Why? Because hope convokes to build “social friendship,” even if one thinks differently; it is not necessary that all think the same way. No, no, all must be united in “social friendship,” even if one thinks differently or has another conviction; all, however, have something in common: the desire to dream and love of the homeland. What is important, for those that are the same and those that are different, is to build “social friendship” with all, to build bridges <and> to work together. To build bridges! Some of you might say: And how can I build a bridge if I’m not a carpenter or engineer? We can all build bridges, with a word, with a desire, with the heart. However, now I invite you to be builders of a human bridge, of the first bridge built in history: shake hands, stretch your arm and shake hands. Do it! And so now, all together, with our hand stretched, we are giving witness that we want to build bridges and work together.

Boys and girls gathered in Havana, but with your heart in Krakow, do not split up! Go together! Build bridges, always with a stretched hand.

You are encouraged in that journey by the Virgin Mary of Charity. For more than 400 years, she has supported faith, hope and encounter among all Cubans. I place at her feet all that is lovely, which her Son will give you these days. And remember her words at Cana: “Do whatever He tells you” (John 2:5).

I assure you of my closeness and prayer for you and for all the beloved Cuban people, while I bless you with particular affection. And, as always, I ask you: pray for me — an embrace and a bridge.

[Original text: Spanish] [Translation by ZENIT]

 

 

 

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