"To be credible and be in touch with young people, priority must be given to listening, knowing how to 'waste time' in welcoming their questions and their desires. Your testimony will be more persuasive if, with joy and truth, you know how to speak of the beauty, the amazement and wonder of being in love with God".
Vatican City (AsiaNews) - Today in the Church we need a culture of vocations, "with wide horizons and the breath of communion; able to courageously read reality as it is with all of its struggles and resistances "and capable of being for young people a" source of fresh water to drink from and then continue their journey of discovery. "
This was the Pope’s call addressed in the speech to the approximately 800 participants at the Conference sponsored by the office for the pastoral care of vocations of the Italian bishops' conference, received today, at the end of their three-day meeting on the theme: "Arise, go and do not be afraid. "
The meeting, said Francis, had as its "horizon and the journey towards the Synod Assembly of 2018, on the theme 'Youth, faith and vocational discernment'. The total and generous 'yes' of a life given is similar to a water source, hidden for so long in the depths of the earth, waiting to gush out and spill forth its stream of purity and freshness. "
"This is the backdrop for your service, in a style of proclamation and vocational accompaniment. This commitment requires passion and a sense of gratuity. The passion of personal involvement, in knowing how to take care of the lives that are delivered as chests that contain a precious treasure to be preserved. And the gratuity of service and ministry in the Church that requires great respect for those whom you accompany in their journey. It is the commitment to seek their happiness, and this goes far beyond your preferences and expectations. I make my own the words of Pope Benedict XVI: "Be sowers of trust and hope. It is in fact a deep sense of loss that the youth of today often experience. Not infrequently human words are without future or prospects, and also lack meaning and wisdom. [...] Yet, this may be the time of God "(Address to the participants in the European congress on the pastoral care of vocations, July 4, 2009)".
"To be credible and be in touch with young people, priority must be given to listening, knowing how to 'waste time' in welcoming their questions and their desires. Your testimony will be more persuasive if, with joy and truth, you know how to speak of the beauty, the amazement and wonder of being in love with God, men and women living with gratitude their choice of life to help others to leave a new and original imprint in history. This requires that you are not overtaken by external stresses, but entrust them to the mercy and tenderness of the Lord reviving the fidelity of your choices and the freshness of the 'first love' (cf. Rev 2.5) ".
Hence his invitation: "do not tire of repeating to yourself: 'I'm on a mission' and not simply 'I have a mission'. "We must recognize ourselves as marked by that mission to enlighten, bless, give life, lift, heal, liberate" (ibid., N. Evangelii gaudium, 273). Being permanently on a mission requires courage, boldness, imagination and desire to go further, to go further. In fact, 'Arise, go' and do not fear 'was the theme of your conference. It helps us to remember the many vocational stories, in which the Lord invites those who are called to come out of themselves to be a gift for others; a mission entrusted to them and reassures them: "Fear not, for I am with you" (Is 41:10). This blessing is a constant and keen encouragement to move beyond the fears that can imprison us in ourselves and paralyze all desire for good. It is good to know that the Lord takes care of our fragility, puts us back on our feet day after day, so that we may have the infinite patience to start over. "
"Let us feel moved by the Holy Spirit to find new ways with courage in proclaiming the Gospel of vocation; to be men and women who, as sentinels (cf. Ps 130.6), know how to seize the streaks of light of a new dawn, in a renewed experience of faith and passion for the Church and for the kingdom of God. The Spirit pushes us to be capable of a loving patience, which does not fear the inevitable delays and resistances of the human heart ".