Rome (AsiaNews) - Many young people went to the World Youth Day "as disciples I have no doubt that all of you will leave as missionaries", knowing that "God calls us to make definitive decisions," be they marriage, the priesthood or life religious. These were the last words spoken by Pope Francis before leaving Rio de Janeiro to return to Rome, where he is expected late in the morning.
The last meeting before the farewell at the airport of "Galeão / Antonio Carlos Jobim" in Rio de Janeiro, was at the Convention Center "Centro Rio" with about 15,000 volunteers (pictured), representing the 60,000 who worked for two years in the preparation of the XXVIII World Youth Day.
With them, he recalled his first "call", at age 17, noting that " God calls you to make definitive choices, and he has a plan for each of you: to discover that plan and to respond to your vocation is to move toward personal fulfilment. God calls each of us to be holy, to live his life, but he has a particular path for each one of us. Some are called to holiness through family life in the sacrament of Marriage. Today, there are those who say that marriage is out of fashion; in a culture of relativism and the ephemeral, many preach the importance of "enjoying" the moment. They say that it is not worth making a life-long commitment, making a definitive decision, "for ever", because we do not know what tomorrow will bring. I ask you, instead, to be revolutionaries, to swim against the tide; yes, I am asking you to rebel against this culture that sees everything as temporary and that ultimately believes that you are incapable of responsibility, that you are incapable of true love. I have confidence in you and I pray for you. Have the courage "to swim against the tide". Have the courage to be happy".
"The Lord - he continued - The
Lord calls some to be priests, to give themselves to him more fully, so as to
love all people with the heart of the Good Shepherd. Some he calls to the
service of others in the religious life: devoting themselves in monasteries to
praying for the good of the world, and in various areas of the apostolate,
giving of themselves for the sake of all, especially those most in need. I will
never forget that day, 21 September - I was 17 years old - when, after stopping
in the Church of San José de Flores to go to confession, I first heard
God calling me. Do not be afraid of what God asks of you! It is worth saying
"yes" to God. In him we find joy!".
"A climate of gratitude and nostalgia", at the airport, and a final thought for the young people, "the protagonists of this great encounter: God bless you for such a beautiful witness to a living, deep and joyful participation in these days."
"T hrough your joyful witness and service, help to build a civilization of love. Show, by your life, that it is worth giving your time and talents in order to attain high ideals, it is worth recognizing the dignity of each human person, and it is worth taking risks for Christ and his Gospel. It is he that we have come to seek because he first sought us. It is he who has inflamed our hearts with the desire to take the Good News to the large cities and to the small communities, to the countryside and to all the corners of this vast planet. I will always place my hopes in the young people of Brazil and in the young around the world: through them, Christ is preparing a new springtime all over the earth. I have seen its first fruits and I know that others will joyfully reap the full harvest! "