Synod: Pope: renewing the ability to dream and hope for 'infecting young people'

At the Mass for the opening of the Synod, Francis underlined the presence, for the first time, of two bishops from mainland China. Sincere listening "protects us from the temptation of falling into moralistic or elitist postures, and it protects us from the lure of abstract ideologies that never touch the realities of our people".

Vatican City (AsiaNews) - Renewing the ability to dream and hope with which to "infect young people". This is Pope Francis’s goal as he celebrated Mass for the opening of the Synod on Youth, at which he highlighted, “for the first time, we have also with us two bishops from mainland China. We offer them our warm welcome: the communion of the entire Episcopate with the Successor of Peter is yet more visible thanks to their presence".

TV cameras did not capture their presence among the 266 fathers lined up next to the altar, in a Saint Peter's square in which there were more than 30 thousand faithful. And a Chinese flag. However Reuters spread one photo of the two bishops (n. 2)

"May the Spirit - Francis said to them - May the Spirit grant us the grace to be synodal Fathers anointed with the gift of dreaming and of hoping. We will then, in turn, be able to anoint our young people with the gift of prophecy and vision. May the Spirit give us the grace to be a memory that is diligent, living and effective, that does not allow itself from one generation to the next to be extinguished or crushed by the prophets of doom and misfortune, by our own shortcomings, mistakes and sins. Rather may it be a memory capable of enkindling our hearts and of discerning the ways of the Spirit".

"Anointed by hope - he said - let us begin a new ecclesial meeting. One that can broaden our horizons, expand our hearts and transform those frames of mind that today paralyze, separate and alienate us from young people, leaving them exposed to stormy seas, orphans without a faith community that should sustain them, orphans devoid of a sense of direction and meaning in life (cf. Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium, 49).  Hope challenges us, moves us and shatters that conformism which says, “it’s always been done like this”. Hope asks us to get up and look directly into the eyes of young people and see their situations. This same hope asks us to make efforts to reverse situations of uncertainty, exclusion and violence, to which our young people are exposed".

In the words of Francis, it is "to listen to one another to discern together what the Lord is asking of His Church.”

"The gift of that ability to listen, sincerely and prayerfully, as free as possible from prejudice and conditioning, will help us to be part of those situations which the People of God experience. Listening to God, so that with him we can listen to the cry of the people; listening to our people, so that we can breathe in with them the desire to which God calls us (cf. Address during the Prayer Vigil in preparation for the Synod on the Family, 4 October 2014).  This disposition protects us from the temptation of falling into moralistic or elitist postures, and it protects us from the lure of abstract ideologies that never touch the realities of our people (cf. J.M. BERGOGLIO, Meditations for Religious, 45-46).

The Pope concluded by recalling that the last document of the Council was directed to young people. "This is how the Council Fathers spoke to us: “For four years the Church has been working to rejuvenate her image in order to respond the better to the design of her Founder, the great Living One, the Christ who is eternally young. At the term of this imposing re-examination of life, she now turns to you. It is for you, youth, especially for you that the Church now comes through her council to enkindle your light, the light which illuminates the future, your future. The Church is anxious that this society that you are going to build up should respect the dignity, the liberty and the rights of individuals. These individuals are you. […] She trusts […] that you will express your faith in life and in what gives meaning to life: the certainty of the existence of a good and just God. It is in the name of this God and of His Son, Jesus, that we exhort you to open your hearts to the dimensions of the world, to heed the appeal of your brothers, to place your youthful energies at their service. Fight against all egoism. Refuse to give free course to the instincts of violence and hatred which beget wars and all their train of miseries. Be generous, pure, respectful and sincere, and build in enthusiasm a better world than your elders had” (PAUL VI, Closing of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, Address to Young Men and Women of the World, 8 December 1965).

Dear Synod Fathers, the Church looks to you with confidence and love.”