Francis speaks in a video-message released for the 34th World Youth Day in Panama next January centred on ‘I am the servant of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word’.
Vatican City (AsiaNews) – Pope Francis has a video-message for young people ahead of the 34th World Youth Day in Panama next January centred on the theme: “I am the servant of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word” (Lk 1:38).
In his address, the Holy Father calls on youth to have the courage to ask God what he wants from them and respond to his call as Mary did, with a “brave and generous ‘yes’”.
Francis notes that Mary’s answer to the angel “is the positive reply of one who understands the secret of vocation ‒ to go beyond oneself and place oneself at the service of others. Our lives only find meaning in service to God and to other people.
“There are many young people, both believers and nonbelievers, who when they come to the end of a stage in their studies, feel a desire to do something for those who are suffering. This is a strength in young people, a strength that all of you possess. It is a strength that can change the world. It is a revolution that can overturn the powerful forces at work in our world. It is the ‘revolution’ of service.
“To be at the service of others does not only mean to be ready for action. It means also to be in conversation with God with an attitude of listening, just like Mary. She listened to what the angel said to her and then she responded. It is by relating to God in the silence of our hearts that we discover our identity and the vocation to which God is calling us. It can be expressed in different ways: in marriage, in consecrated life, in the priesthood… All these are ways of following Jesus. The important thing is to discover what God wants from us and to be brave enough to say ‘yes’.
“Mary was a happy woman, and this is because she replied generously to God and opened her heart to God’s plan for her. When God has a proposition for us, like the one he had for Mary, it is not intended to extinguish our dreams, but to ignite our aspirations. Propositions like this are meant to make our lives fruitful and produce many smiles and happy hearts. To respond to God positively is to take a first step towards being happy and towards making many people happy.
“Dear young people, take courage, enter within yourselves and say to God: ‘What do you want from me?’ Allow God to answer you. Then you will see how your life is transformed and filled with joy.
“With the upcoming World Youth Day in our sights, I invite you all to prepare for it by following and taking part in the initiatives that are happening. They will help you on your path towards this goal. May Our Lady be with you on this pilgrimage, and may her example encourage you to be brave and generous in your response.
“Have a good journey on your way to Panama! And, please, do not forget to pray for me. See you soon.”
Francis will leave for Panama in the morning of 23 January and arrive in the afternoon. Two days later, there will be the first symbolic meeting with WYD participants. At 10.30 am, he will lead the penitential liturgy with young inmates at the Las Garzas juvenile centre in Pacora, east of the capital. In the afternoon, he will be at the Via Crucis at Campo Santa Maria la Antigua in the Cinta Costera. On the 26th there will be a Vigil with young people in Campo San Juan Pablo II and on the 27th Mass for World Youth Day. Then the Pope will have lunch with some of the participants.
During the visit to Panama, in addition to the country’s authorities, the pontiff will meet with Central American bishops on the 24th, dedicate the restored altar of the cathedral of Basilica de Santa Maria la Antigua on the 25th, and visit the Casa Hogar el Buen Samaritan on the 27th. He will fly home to Rome on the 28th.