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Text of Pope’s Prepared Address to Turin Young People

Do you succeed in having your friendship with Jesus “shine” in your attitudes, in your way of behaving?

Here is a ZENIT translation of the address Pope Francis prepared for his meeting Sunday evening with youth in Turin. He did not deliver his prepared speech, instead speaking off-the-cuff to the young people for about a half hour.

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Dear Young People,

I thank you for this warm welcome! And thank you for your questions, which take us to the heart of the Gospel.

The first, on love, questions us on the meaning of God’s profound love, offered to us by the Lord Jesus. He shows us to what point love goes: to the total gift of himself, to giving his own life, as we contemplate in the mystery of the Shroud, when we recognize in it the icon of the “greatest love.” However, this gift of ourselves must not be imagined as a rare heroic gesture or reserved to some exceptional occasion. In fact, we could run the risk of singing of love, of dreaming of love, of applauding love … without letting ourselves be touched and involved in it! The grandeur of love is revealed in taking care of one in need, with fidelity and patience; therefore, great is the love that is able to make itself little for others, like Jesus, who made himself a servant. To love is to come close, to touch the flesh of Christ in the poor and the least, to open to God’s grace the needs, the appeals, the solitude of persons that surround us. Then the love of God enters, transforms and render little things great, it renders them the sign of his presence. Saint John Bosco is in fact a teacher to us because of his capacity to love and to educate from proximity, which he lived with youngsters and young people.

In the light of this transformation, fruit of love, we can answer the second question, on mistrust in life. The lack of work and of prospects for the future certainly contributes to halt the movement of life itself, putting many on the defensive: to think of themselves, to manage time and resources for their own good, to limit the risks of any generosity … They are all symptoms of a withholding of life, preserved at all costs and that, in the end, can also lead to resignation and cynicism. Instead, Jesus teaches us to follow the opposite way: “whoever would save his life will lose it; and whoever loses his life for my sake, he will save it” (Luke 9:24). This means that we must not wait for favorable external circumstances to really get involved but that, on the contrary, only by committing our life – aware of losing it! – we create for others and for ourselves the conditions of new trust in the future. And here my thought goes spontaneously to a youth who truly spent his life this way, so much so as to become a model of trust and evangelical audacity for the young generations of Italy and of the world: Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati. His motto was: “Live, not live poorly!” This is the way to experience fully the strength and joy of the Gospel. In this way, not only will you find trust in the future, but you will succeed in generating hope among your friends and in the environments in which you live.

Friendship was a great passion of Pier Giorgio Frassati. And your third question stated in fact: how can friendship be lived in an open way, capable of transmitting the joy of the Gospel? I learned that this Square in which we find ourselves, is much frequented by young people on Friday and Saturday evenings. It happens the same way in all our cities and countries. I think that some of you also meet here or in other Squares with your friends. And now I ask you a question — each one think and answer it within himself –: in those moments, when you are in company, do you succeed in having your friendship with Jesus “shine” in your attitudes, in your way of behaving? Do you sometimes think, also in your free time, in relaxation, that you are little shoots attached to the vine that is Jesus? I assure you that thinking of this reality with faith, you will feel running in you the “lymph” of the Holy Spirit, and you will bear fruit, almost without realizing it: you will be able to be courageous, patient, humble, capable of sharing but also of differentiating yourselves, to rejoice with those who rejoice, and to weep with those who weep; you will be able to love those who do not love you, respond to evil with good. And thus you will proclaim the Gospel!

Turin’s men and women Saints teach us that all renewal, also that of the Church, passes through our personal conversion, through that openness of heart that receives and recognizes God’s surprises, driven by the greatest love (cf. 2 Corinthians 5:14), which renders us friends also of persons who are alone, suffering and marginalized.

Dear young people, together with these older brothers and sisters that the Saints are, in the Church’s family we have a Mother, let us not forget it! I hope you will entrust yourselves fully to this tender Mother, who indicated the presence of the “greatest love” precisely amid young people, at a wedding celebration. Our Lady “is the always attentive friend so that wine will not be lacking in our life” (Apostolic Exhortation Eveangelii gaudium, 286). Let us pray that the wine of joy will not be lacking to us!

Thank you all. May God bless you all. And please, pray for me.

[Original text: Italian] [Translation by ZENIT]

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