Pope tells Syro-Malabar youth not to fear love
Francis met in audience with members of the Indian diaspora, marking 1,950 years since the martyrdom of the Apostle Thomas. “Don’t be afraid to rebel against the growing tendency to reduce love to something banal, without beauty or genuine sharing, lacking in fidelity and responsibility,” Francis said. “Christianity consists not in a series of prohibitions,” he added, “but in a life project capable of bringing fulfilment to every human heart.”
Vatican City (AsiaNews) – Pope Francis met with participants of the “Syro-Malabar Youth Leaders Conference" currently underway in Rome.
In his address, the pontiff said, “There is a common ground on which all young people can meet, and that is the desire for an authentic, beautiful and profound love. Please, do not be afraid of that kind of love!
Accompanied by the major archbishop, Cardinal George Alencherry, youth groups leaders came from the Syro-Malabar eparchies in the diaspora and the apostolic visitation in Europe.
The conference is being held in the year in which the Syro-Malabar Church marks the 1,950th anniversary of the martyrdom of the Apostle Thomas, who, according to tradition, arrived on the coasts of India where he sowed the seeds of the Gospel, giving birth to the first Christian communities.
For the pontiff, “in today’s ‘fluid’, even ‘frothy’ culture, our lives find substance and meaning whenever we say ‘yes’ to Jesus. You can ask, ‘Am I sure that life becomes full of meaning and fruitful when we say ‘yes’ to Jesus? Am I sure of this? Have I known what it is to be freely loved, not for any merit of my own, but as a pure gift? Am I sure that my life is a gift?’ It is the experience of love freely given that gives meaning to our lives. It gives us the strength to say ‘yes’ to a life of service and responsibility, and ‘no’ to one of superficiality and dissipation.”
Citing the example of the Apostle Thomas, Francis stressed that the Church “continues to grow not by proselytism, but by witness. Every baptized person shares in building up the Church to the extent that he or she is a witness. You too are called to bear witness, primarily among your peers in the Syro-Malabar diaspora, but also among those who do not belong to your communities, and even those who do not know the Lord Jesus.”
The truth about love is that it is precisely a fruitful soil for bearing witness. With this in mind, the pope urges young people, not to “be afraid to rebel against the growing tendency to reduce love to something banal, without beauty or genuine sharing, lacking in fidelity and responsibility.”
In fact, “Whenever we use others as objects for our own selfish purposes, hearts end up being broken and leave only sadness and emptiness in their wake.” By contrast, the testimonies of love by the saints in every age show “more than any words – that Christianity consists not in a series of prohibitions that stifle the desire for happiness, but in a life project capable of bringing fulfilment to every human heart.”
Francis then invited young people from the communities of the Indian diaspora to take root “in the tradition and prayer of past generations”, starting with their grandparents, and “your Church and in its spiritual and liturgical riches.”
In concluding, the pontiff noted that, like in the Magnificat, “Mary teaches us also to live eucharistically, in other words to give thanks, to cultivate praise, and not to be fixated only on problems and difficulties.
“In the course of life, today’s fervent petitions become tomorrow’s prayers of thanksgiving. Your participation in the Holy Qurbana (Holy Sacrifice[*]) and the Sacrament of Reconciliation will thus be both an end and a beginning: your lives will be renewed each day and will become a perennial song of praise to Almighty God”.
Photo: Vatican News
[*] The Eucharistic liturgy as celebrated in East Syriac Christianity,