Young People Find the Lord in Action


“The most difficult questions come from young people.” In these words of Pope Francis, reported by Fr. Antonio Spadaro in Civiltà Cattolica no. 4000 and published today by the Corriere della Sera, there is an important key to understanding what the Pope expects from the next Synod. “Young people really put you on the spot—continues Francis—The lunches with young people during the World Youth Days or on other occasions are situations where I find myself in difficulty.”

Visibly, for the Pope, the toughest questions are not only those “boldly and sincerely” asked by young people on some specific occasions, but those they pose with their lives. “Sometimes the pastoral vocation does not respond to their expectations,” and we need to think of different ways to talk and to answer them.

These are the reasons that have led to the choice of the theme of the next Synod of Bishops that connects, through the hermeneutical key of discernment, the issue of the youth and that of vocations. Now, the Pope describes this attitude, which seems central in his pontificate, as ”moving forward through the grey of life, in accordance with God’s will. And the will of God is to be sought according to the true doctrine of the Gospel and not in the rigidity of an abstract doctrine.”

To respond to the questions of the young, Francis focuses on two words: listening and movement: “Things cannot be static, especially when young people are involved.” Therefore, the Synod will help to find new paths and will not be limited to asking the young people to listen; rather, it will have to listen to them. “You have to work with young people by doing things, working with the popular missions, social work, going every week to feed the homeless. Young people find the Lord in action. Then, after action they must reflect. But reflection alone doesn’t help, because it is only ideas … ideas. So, two concepts: listening and movement. This is important. But not only training young people to listen, but first listening to them, the young people themselves. This is an important priority for the Church: listening to young people. And in the preparation of the Synod the presence of religious communities is very important, because they work a lot with the young.”




09 February 2017
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