Pope Francis: “Be Fearless, Humble and Joyful Witnesses to the Gospel” – Part 2
The following is Part 2 of an article on Pope Francis’ meeting in Vatican City with seminarians, novices and young people discerning their vocations. For Part 1 of this article, click here.
“To be joyful witnesses to the Gospel you need to be authentic and coherent,” he went on. “And this is another word I wish to emphasize to you — authenticity. Jesus fought against hypocrites, against those who, to put it clearly, are two-faced. This is a responsibility for all adults, all formators. And to those formators present here today, I urge you to give an example of coherence to the young. Do we want coherent young people? Then we must be coherent ourselves! On the contrary, the Lord recounts what the Pharisees said to the people of God: ‘Do what they say, but not what they do!’ Coherence and authenticity!”
The Holy Father urged the young people to be transparent in confession and to tell the truth without fear, as this transparency makes us humble. “Tell the truth without hiding anything, without unclear words, as you are speaking to Jesus through your confessor, and Jesus knows the truth. Only He always forgives!”
The Pope emphasized that a vocation is based on four pillars: spiritual life, intellectual life, apostolic life and community life. Here the Holy Father stressed the dangers of gossip, a problem born of community life. “Gossip conceals envy, jealousy, ambition.” He commented that “not speaking ill of others is a good route to holiness,” and reiterated the importance of cultivating friendships to avoid both isolation and profligacy in relationships.” He said “a priest or other consecrated person can never be an island, but rather must always be willing to encounter others.”
Pope Francis concluded by emphasizing the need for a missionary Church, not a passive Church, and urged the young people present not to fall prey to the temptation to participate in the “sport of complaining.” Instead, he encouraged them to “be positive, cultivate a spiritual life and, at the same time, go forth, be capable of meeting people, especially the most scorned and disadvantaged. Do not be afraid of swimming against the current. Be contemplative and missionary. Keep the Virgin Mary with you always, and please, pray the Rosary, do not forget! Keep Our Lady with you in your homes, just as the Apostle John did. May she accompany and protect you always. And pray for me too, because I too need your prayers; I too am a poor sinner, although we continue to press forward.”
This article is taken from VIS, the Vatican Information Service, July 9, 2013.