In the afternoon Francis travelled to Iaşi to meet with young people and families. It's up to young people to pursue the “prophetic vision: without love and without God, no one can live on the earth.” Faith “does not show up on the stock exchange”. It is not for sale, but it “is a gift that keeps alive a profound and beautiful certainty: that we are God’s beloved children.”
Bucharest (AsiaNews) – Pope Francis met with young people and families on Saturday afternoon in Iaşi, eastern Romania, almost on the border with Moldova. During the meeting he said that faith unites parents and children, grandparents and grandchildren, people different by birth and traditions. He also said that young people must pursue the “prophetic vision: without love and without God, no one can live on the earth.”
Immediately upon arriving after a flight by plane and trip by helicopter, the pontiff went to Our Lady Queen of Iași Cathedral, where he met many sick people whom he greeted one by one. On leaving, the Pope blessed a marble statue of Christ the Redeemer and a stone that shows the Way of Santiago de Compostela in Romania.
Like this morning at the shrine in Șumuleu Ciuc, in Transylvania, a large crowd made the journey from the cathedral to the large square in front of the Palace of Culture in Iaşi, to hear people sing and bear witness as well as listen to Francis’s words. In his address, the pontiff highlighted the story of Elisabeta and Ioan who spoke of their life in a family with 11 children, two of them priests and two nuns.
“All of you are different,” said the Holy Father, “you come from different places, yet “today everyone is gathered, together, just as on every Sunday morning in the old days, when everyone went to Church together”. The happiness of parents seeing their children gathered around them. Surely, today there is joy in heaven at the sight of all these children who have wanted to be together.”
“You look to the future and you open the door to it for your children, your grandchildren and your people by offering them the best lesson that you learned from your own journey: never forget where you come from. Wherever you go and whatever you do, don’t forget your roots. It is the same dream, the same advice that Saint Paul gave to Timothy: to keep alive the faith of his mother and grandmother (cf. 2 Tim 1:5-7). As you continue to grow in every way – stronger, older and even in importance – do not forget the most beautiful and worthwhile lesson you learned at home.”
“Certainly, a faith that does not show up on the stock exchange, or ‘sell’, may not appear, as Eduard reminded us, to “be of much use”. Faith, however, is a gift that keeps alive a profound and beautiful certainty: that we are God’s beloved children. God loves with a Father’s love. Every life, and every one of us, belongs to him. We belong as children, but also as grandchildren, spouses, grandparents, friends, neighbours; we belong as brothers and sisters. The Evil one divides, scatters, separates; he sows discord and distrust. He wants us to live ‘detached’ from others and from ourselves. The Spirit, on the contrary, reminds us that we are not anonymous, abstract, faceless beings, without history or identity. We are not meant to be empty or superficial. There is a very strong spiritual network that unites us; one that “connects” and sustains us, and is stronger than any other type of connection. It is roots: the realization that we belong to one another, that each of our lives is anchored in the lives of others. “Young people flourish when they are truly loved”.
Speaking about Edouard, a young man, the pontiff noted that he “told us that, like many others in his town, he tried to practise the faith amid numerous challenges. Many indeed are the challenges that can discourage us and make us close in on ourselves. We cannot deny it or pretend that it isn’t the case. Difficulties exist and they are evident. But that cannot make us forget that faith itself offers us the greatest challenge of all: a challenge that, far from enclosing or isolating us, can bring out the best in us all. The Lord is the first to challenge us. He tells us that the worst comes when there are no more paths between neighbours, when we see more trenches than roads. The Lord is the one who gives us a song more powerful than all the siren songs that would paralyze us on our journey. And he always does it the same way: by singing a more beautiful and challenging song.
“The Lord gives us a vocation, a challenge to discover the talents and abilities we possess and to put them at the service of others. He asks us to use our freedom as a freedom to choose, to say yes to a loving plan, to a face, to a look. This is a much greater freedom than simply being able to consume and buy things. It is a vocation that sets us in motion, makes us fill in trenches and open up new avenues to remind us all that we are children and brothers and sisters to one another.”
“This is less about generating great programmes or projects, than about allowing faith to grow. As I mentioned to you at the beginning: faith is not transmitted only by words, but also by gestures, looks and caresses, like those of our mothers and grandmothers; with the flavour of those things we learned at home in a straightforward and simple way. Where there is hue and din, let us try to listen; where there is confusion, let us inspire harmony; where everything is uncertain and ambiguous, let us bring clarity. Where there is exclusion, let us offer solidarity; in the midst of sensationalism and instant communication, let us be concerned about the integrity of others; where there is aggression, let us bring peace; where there is falsehood, let us bring truth. In everything, let us make it our concern to open up paths that enable a sense of belonging, of being children and brothers and sisters (cf. Message for the 2018 World Day of Social Communications).