May 9, 2019

Pope Francis to Young People: Holiness Takes Effort

Vatican City (CNA)—In his follow-up document to October’s youth synod, Pope Francis urged young people to approach holiness not only with the joy and boldness of youth, but with seriousness.

Published April 2, Christus vivit (Christ lives) is Pope Francis’s apostolic exhortation on the Synod of Bishops on young people, faith, and vocational discernment, which took place October 3-28, 2018. It was signed March 25, the Solemnity of the Annunciation, in the Holy House of Mary in Loreto, Italy.

Francis explained that “becoming an adult does not mean you have to abandon what is best about this stage of your lives.”

“Growing older means preserving and cherishing the most precious things about our youth, but it also involves having to purify those things that are not good and receiving new gifts from God so we can develop the things that really matter.”

The 50-page letter is addressed to “all Christian young people” in particular and to the “entire People of God.” Francis stated that while the document was inspired by what emerged from synod discussions it is not exhaustive, but a summary of the proposals he considers most important.

He warned against isolation and lack of community, which modern technology can contribute to, saying, “when we live apart from others, it is very difficult to fight against concupiscence, the snares and temptations of the devil, and the selfishness of the world. Bombarded as we are by so many enticements, we can grow too isolated, lose our sense of reality and inner clarity, and easily succumb.”

But whenever young people are united, they have a “marvelous strength,” he continued. “Whenever you are enthused about life in common, you are capable of great sacrifices for others and for the community. Isolation, on the other hand, saps our strength and exposes us to the worst evils of our time.”

Speaking about vocation, the pope said that, while a gift, it will “undoubtedly also be demanding.”

“In the end, [vocation] is a recognition of why I was made, why I am here on earth, and what the Lord’s plan is for my life,” he stated. Though God will not show a person every detail of his vocation, and one must prudently make one’s own decisions, “like clay in the hands of a potter, I can let myself be shaped and guided by him.”

The Editors