François to the young: dream big, don’t listen to the “killers of hope”


Francis meets boys and girls from all over Greece at the end of his apostolic journey. Listening to three testimonies, including that of a Syrian refugee, the Pontiff urges us to devote ourselves to others “who are not losers” and to launch out in life, by not letting ourselves be captivated by the “sirens. “Which offer” seductive messages, which target easy income, false consumption needs, cult of well-being ”

Salvatore Cernuzio – Vatican City

“Brostà, oli masí! “. “Come on, all together! “, without being frightened by the doubt that they are “vitamins of faith”, without being destroyed by the “zeros of dreams and the hitmen of hope”, without being imprisoned in this “virtual world full of appearances ”, In which we are“ very social but not very social ”. It is a push towards the future, to embark on the Odyssey of life, that the Pope offers to young people from all over Greece whom he meets at the Saint-Dionys school of the Ursuline Sisters of Maroussi. The embrace with the new generations who will build the future of a country forced to live in the midst of multiple crises is the final act of Francis’ journey to Hellenic land. Through the boys, the Pontiff expresses his “efcharistó”,“ Thank you ”, for all those who organized or helped organize your pilgrimage.

Songs and testimonies

In the college gymnasium, after songs, hymns and a traditional dance, the Pope, on a blue stage adorned with white flowers, listens to three testimonies: Katerina, a young Filipina who speaks of her doubts about faith in the face of Suffering; Ioanna, from Tinos, who remembers her closeness to God after moments of anger and distance; Aboud, an 18-year-old Syrian, with his brother Mario by his side, who moves those present by relating his experience as a refugee from bruised Syria, where his family has risked death on several occasions between bombings and attacks.

Sirens that fascinate

It is from the words of the three boys that the Pope begins his speech, interspersed with several improvised passages and centered on a single message: “God loves you”. Francis is giving this ad as a gift to the boys and girls who otherwise risk being imprisoned by “laziness”, “fear”, “shame” or by those “hammering messages” that “make life dependent on” the way we dress, the car we drive, the way others look at us. “It is these“ sirens ”who in the myth attracted sailors with their song to make them smash against the rocks.

In reality, today’s sirens want to charm you with seductive and insistent messages, which emphasize easy gains, false consumer needs, the cult of physical well-being, pleasure in any price… The fireworks are numerous, which shine. for a while, then they leave

A traditional dance for the Pope

A traditional dance for the Pope

To know itself

Resisting is not easy, says the Pope: Ulysses, threatened by sirens, was tied to the mast of the ship, but there is another character to take example, Orpheus, who sang a more beautiful melody than that sirens by putting them on so stay silent. This melody is for each young person “the beauty of faith”, says the Pope: “We are not Christians because it is necessary, but because it is beautiful”. He therefore remembers the ancient invitation engraved on the pediment of the temple of Delphi: “γνῶθι σeαυτόν. To know itself”.

Recognize that you are worth what you are, not what you have. You are not worth the brand of the dress or shoes you wear, but because you are unique you are unique

Unique because they are “beloved children of God”. “The heart of faith is not an idea or a moral, but a reality, a beautiful reality which does not depend on us and which leaves you speechless: we are beloved children of God! Beloved children: we have a Father who watches over us without ever ceasing to love us ”. “Let us reflect”, exhorts the Pope:

“Whatever you think or do, even the worst, God continues to love you. I would like you to understand it clearly: God never tires of loving. Can someone tell me, “But if I slip into the ugliest things, does God love me?” God loves you. “What if I am a traitor, a terrible sinner, and I end up badly, in drugs… Does God love me? ” God loves you. God still loves. I can’t stop loving. Love always and in any case. Look at your life and see it very clearly. He never regrets us. If we are standing in front of the mirror, maybe we don’t see ourselves as we would like because we risk focusing on what we don’t like. But if we stand before God, the perspective changes. We can only be astonished to be for him, in spite of all our weaknesses and our sins, children loved forever and ever. “

Do not lose the amazement

It is true that “in the face of misunderstandings or the difficulties of life, in moments of loneliness or disappointment, this doubt can knock on the door of the heart: ‘It may be I who am not doing well … wrong … ‘”. But this” is a temptation to be rejected, “which the devil encourages” to throw us into sadness. “What to do? What to do when such doubt becomes suffocating and does not leave you alone, when you lose confidence and that you do not know where to start? “We must find the starting point”, says the Pope, who is “wonder”, “wonder”.Thaumàzein”, This spark, this discovery that started philosophy, culture, art, science.

“Wonder is not only the beginning of philosophy, it is also the beginning of our faith,” commented the Pope. “We never lose this wonder of being for God, despite all our weaknesses and our sins, children always loved and for always”.

So instead of starting the day in front of the mirror, why don’t you open your bedroom window and focus on everything, on all the beauty there is, on all the beauty that you are see? Come out of yourself

The youth choir of Greece

The youth choir of Greece

The treasure of forgiveness

And when you are “disappointed” with something you have done, there is another wonder you shouldn’t miss: “The wonder of forgiveness”.

We do not allow laziness, fear or shame to steal the treasure of forgiveness. Let us be amazed by the love of God! We will meet up ; not what they say about us or what the impulses of the moment arouse in us; not what the advertising slogans throw at us, but our deepest truth, the one God sees, the one he believes in: the irreplaceable beauty that we are.

So social, not very social

To preserve this beauty, “let’s say no to what wants to obscure it”, encourages Pope Francis. Rather, let’s say yes to what brings joy, such as devoting oneself to others which “is not for the losers, is for the winners; it’s the way to do something really new in history ”. “Do you want to do something new with your life? Do you want to recharge your batteries? Don’t just post a few posts or tweets. Do not settle for virtual meetings, look for real ones, especially with those who need you: do not seek visibility, but the invisible ones. It’s original, revolutionary, ”says the Bishop of Rome.

Many today are very sociable but not very sociable: withdrawn, prisoners of the cell phone they hold in their hands. But the other is missing on the screen, his eyes, his breath, his hands are missing. The screen easily becomes a mirror, where you think you are facing the world, but in reality you are alone, in a virtual world full of appearances, photos composed to always be beautiful and fit..

“How pleasant it is to be with others, to discover the novelty of the other! exclaims François. “Cultivate the mystique of the whole, the joy of sharing, the ardor to serve! “. “O filos ine állos eaftós”, “The friend is another me”, says a Greek saying: “Yes, the other is the way to find each other. Of course it’s hard to get by comfort zone, it is easier to sit on the sofa in front of the TV. But it’s old, it’s not young. Young is reacting: when you feel alone, opening up; when the temptation to withdraw comes, look for others, train yourself in this ‘gymnastics of the soul’ ”.

A moment of meeting of Pope Francis with the young people of Greece

A moment of meeting of Pope Francis with the young people of Greece

The adventure of living

It is precisely the boys and girls born and raised in the country which has seen the biggest sporting events flourish, such as the Olympic Games and the marathon, must engage in another type of competition “which is good for the body, there is this which is good for the ‘soul’.

Train to open up, travel long distances with oneself to shorten those with others; to throw the heart over obstacles; lifting each other’s burdens… Training in this will make you happy, keep you young and make you feel the adventure of life!

Don’t be paralyzed by fears

And speaking of adventure, Pope Francis recalls the testimony of Aboud, his flight and disembarkation in this country by boat, remaining “on a rock without water and without food, waiting for dawn and a coast guard ship. “. “A real odyssey these days”, comments the Pontiff, and Aboud like a young Telemachus, the son of Ulysses who “gets up at a crossroads, secretly puts away the ship and hurries, at sunrise, goes to the adventure ”.

“The meaning of life is not to stay on the beach waiting for the wind to bring news”, encourages Pope Francis. “Salvation is in the open sea, in the momentum, in the search, in the pursuit of dreams, the real ones, those with open eyes, which involve fatigue, struggle, headwinds, sudden storms”.

But don’t be paralyzed by fears, dream big! And dream together! As with Telemachus, there will be those who will try to stop you. There will always be those who will tell you: “Forget it, don’t take risks, it’s useless”. They are the dream clarifiers, the hope killers, the incurable nostalgic for the past.

So it is with the Pope’s final exhortation: “Nourish the courage of hope. Choosing is a challenge. He faces the fear of the unknown, he leaves the swamp of homologation, he decides to take life in hand ”.

Watch the full video of the Pope’s meeting with young people from all over Greece


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