Life After World Youth Day 2023
And now, the 1.5 million participants from 21 countries are back to their own berths; we, too, who watched the Closing Ceremony in St Mary’s Chapel. Have we slipped back to “normal”?
St Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the Society of Jesus and from whom we all drink from the fountain of “Ignatian Spirituality,” suggests to those who have received much “consolation” to “ruminate,” to draw fruit from the experience. Our Holy Father, son of Ignatius that he is, urged all to take the fraternal experiences back home and apply them to their daily lives.
Here are some of the “good seeds sown” during the packed six-days of the WYD. They were chosen intermittently from the speeches and homilies of Pope Francis, mostly delivered spontaneously. They were taken from various domains on the Internet.
“As you return home, please continue to pray for peace. What is more, you are a sign of peace for the world, showing how different nationalities, languages, and histories can unite instead of divide. You are the hope of a different world.”
“Beware of false happiness of the virtual world and the ‘tyranny’ of social media. While social networks know young people’s names, tastes, and preferences, all this does not understand your uniqueness, but rather your usefulness for market research... The illusions of the virtual world attract us and promise happiness but later show themselves to be vain, superfluous things, substitutes that leave us empty inside. I’ll tell you something, Jesus is not like that. He believes in you, in each one of you and us, because to him each one of us is important.”
“God loves us as we are, not how we would like to be or how society wants us to be, as we are. He loves us with the limits we have, with the defects we have, and with the desire we have to keep moving forward in life! He loves us like that. Believe it, because God is Father. It’s not easy, but we have a great help in the mother of the Lord. She is our mother, too.”
“Never grow tired of coming to God with questions. Asking questions is good. It is often better than giving answers, because those who ask questions remain restless, and restlessness is the best remedy for a routineness that can ‘anaesthetize the soul.’ Life goes on giving answers. We just have to wait for them.”
“In the Church, there is space for everyone, and when there isn’t, please, let’s work so that there will be also for those who make mistakes, for those who fall, for those for whom it is difficult. Jesus expressed this clearly in the Gospels in parables where all are called: the young and the old, the healthy and the sick, the righteous and sinners: everyone, everyone, everyone, everyone! The Church isn’t a place of rigid rules where only the perfect can be let in, but rather a “field hospital” for wounded souls, where all are welcome. That is the Church, the mother of all. There is room for all!”
“The Church, is ‘the community of the called,’ not a community of the best people. Rather, we are all sinners, all called ‘as we are, with our problems and limitations.’ We are a community of brothers and sisters of Jesus, sons and daughters of the same Father.”
In conclusion he said, “The Church and the world need you, the young, as much as the earth needs rain. Don’t be afraid, have courage, go forward knowing that we are loved...”