06 Message for 33rd World Youth Day 2018 - Pope Francis

posted Nov 6, 2018, 8:23 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Nov 6, 2018, 8:23 AM ]
World Youth Day 2018 represents another step in preparation for the international WYD due to take place in Panama in January 2019. This new stage of our pilgrimage falls in the same year that the Ordinary Assembly of the Synod of Bishops deliberate on the theme: 'Young People, the Faith and Vocational Discernment'.

As you already know, we have chosen to be accompanied on this journey by the example and intercession of Mary, the young woman of Nazareth whom God chose as the Mother of His Son. She walks with us towards the Synod and towards the WYD in Panama. If last year we were guided by the words of her canticle of praise – "The Almighty has done great things for me" (Lk 1:49) – teaching us to remember the past, this year we seek, together with her, to listen to the voice of God who inspires courage and bestows the grace needed to respond to his call: "Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favour with God" (Lk 1:30).

As is understandable, the sudden appearance of the angel and his mysterious greeting: "Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with you" (Lk1:28), strongly disturbed Mary, who was surprised by this first revelation of her identity and her vocation, as yet unknown to her. Mary, like others in the Sacred Scriptures, trembles before the mystery of God's call, who in a moment places before her the immensity of His own plan, and makes her feel all her smallness as a humble creature. The angel says: "Do not be afraid!" God also reads our inmost heart. He knows well the challenges we must confront in life, especially when we are faced with the fundamental choices on which depend who we will be, and what we will do in this world. It is the "shudder" that we feel when faced with decisions about our future, our state of life, our vocation. In these moments, we are troubled and seized by so many fears.

And you, young people, what are your fears? What worries you most deeply? An "underlying" fear that many of you have is that of not being loved, well-liked or accepted for who you are. Today, there are many young people who feel the need to be different from who they really are, in an attempt to adapt to an often artificial and unattainable standard. They continuously "photo-shop" their images, hiding behind masks and false identities, almost becoming fake selves. Many are obsessed by receiving as many "likes" as possible. Multiple fears and uncertainties emerge from this sense of inadequacy. Many, faced with the uncertainty of work, fear not being able to find a satisfactory professional position, or to fulfil their dreams. Today, a large number of young people are full of fear - both believers and non-believers. Indeed, those who have accepted the gift of faith and seek their vocation seriously are not exempt from fears. Some think: perhaps God is asking or will ask too much of me; perhaps, by following the road He has marked out for me, I will not be truly happy, or I will not be able to do what He asks of me. Others think: if I follow the path that God shows me, who can guarantee that I will be able to follow it through? Will I become discouraged? Will I lose my enthusiasm? Will I be able to persevere for the whole of my life?

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