Pope tells the fearless youth of Bangladesh that God’s wisdom strengthens hope
Some seven thousand Catholics and others took part in the meeting with young people, which included songs and dances and the testimonies of a young man and a young woman. "You are always full of enthusiasm, and I feel rejuvenated every time I meet you", the pope said. People must rely on God’s wisdom, and not wander “aimlessly”. Such “wisdom helps us to recognize and reject false promises of happiness”, to open “up to others”, to appreciate the culture of “the elderly”, and “to face the future with courage.”
Dhaka (AsiaNews) – A enthusiastic Pope Francis met with about seven thousand young people and students at Dhaka's Notre Dame College on Saturday afternoon, the last event on his busy schedule before leaving the country.
In his address, he noted that the enthusiasm of the young people of Bangladesh, their fearlessness, is boosted by the "wisdom of faith" that enables them to reject the "false promises of happiness", to engage in dialogue with members of other religions, to learn from the "wisdom of the elderly" and to "face the future with courage ", thanks to the" wisdom of God [who] strengthens hope in us".
Pope Francis arrived at the field where the meeting took place in a golf-cart and was welcomed by songs and dances, followed by the testimonies of two young persons, Upasana Ruth Gomes and Anthony Toranga Nokrek. In his response the pontiff said, “you are always full of enthusiasm, and I feel rejuvenated whenever I meet with you.”
“One of your national poets, Kazi Nazrul Islam, expressed this by referring to the youth of the country as ‘fearless’, ‘used to snatching light out of the womb of darkness’. Young people are always ready to move forward, to make things happen and to take risks.
“I encourage you to keep moving with this enthusiasm in the good times and the bad times. Keep moving, especially in those moments when you feel weighed down by problems and sadness, and when you look out and God seems to be nowhere on the horizon.
“But as you move forward, make sure that you choose the right path. What does this mean? It means ‘journeying’ through life, and not ‘wandering aimlessly’.” Otherwise, “all wisdom is lost! The one thing that directs and guides us on to the right path is wisdom, the wisdom born of faith. It is not the false wisdom of this world. It is the wisdom we see in the eyes of our parents and grandparents who put their trust in God.”
With respect to the elderly, Francis said, “Your culture teaches you to respect the elderly. As I said earlier, the elderly help us to appreciate the continuity of the generations. They bring with them memory and the wisdom of experience, which help us to avoid the repetition of past mistakes. The elderly have the “charism of bridging the gap”, in that they ensure that the most important values are passed down to their children and grandchildren.”
The wisdom of the faith is the same as God’s, which “helps us to know how to welcome and accept those who act and think differently than ourselves. It is sad when we start to shut ourselves up in our little world and become inward-looking. We use the ‘my way or the highway’ principle, and we become trapped, self-enclosed. When a people, a religion or a society turns into a ‘little world’, they lose the best that they have and plunge into a self-righteous mentality of ‘I am good and you are bad’. Upasana, you highlighted the consequences of this way of thinking: ‘We lose direction and get lost’ and ‘life becomes meaningless to us’.”
Young people from other religions were also present. In light of this, the pope said, “The wisdom of God opens us up to others. It helps us to look beyond our personal comforts and the false securities which blind us to those grand ideals which make life more beautiful and worthwhile.
“I am happy that, together with Catholics, we also have with us many young Muslim friends and those from other religious backgrounds. In gathering here today you show your determination to foster an environment of harmony, of reaching out to others, regardless of your religious differences.”
“The wisdom of God reinforces the hope in us and helps us to face the future with courage. We Christians find this wisdom in our personal encounter with Jesus in prayer and in the sacraments, and in our concrete encounter with him in the poor, the sick, the suffering and the abandoned. In Jesus we discover the solidarity of God, who constantly walks by our side.
“Dear young friends, when I look at your faces I am filled with joy and hope: joy and hope for you, for your country, for the Church and for your communities. May God’s wisdom continue to inspire your efforts to grow in love, fraternity and goodness. As I leave your country today, I assure you of my prayers that all of you may continue to grow in love of God and neighbour. And please, do not forget to pray for me!
“God bless Bangladesh! [Isshór Bangladeshké ashirbád korún!]”
After the meeting, the pontiff left for Dhaka airport and the farewell ceremony before his departure from Bangladesh. After the final greetings, he left at 5.10 pm.