Pope Francis' sixth papal document is a letter to young people. It is called 'Christus Vivit,' and it is a demanding and optimistic text, in which it opens new horizons to people of all ages. In fact, he says that 'being young, more than an age is a state of mind.'
WHAT DOES 'CHRIST IS ALIVE' SAY?
The pope signed this Apostolic Exhortation on March 25 in Loreto. Throughout its nine chapters, it teaches how to discover one's own vocation, whether to marriage or a giving their life exclusively to God. It combines the greatest messages of the October 2018 synod on young people, using some of its preparatory documents. It also gives guidelines on the how to focus on young people in the Church.
ADVICE TO YOUNG PEOPLE
One of the most surprising pieces of advice to young people is to learn to weep. Pope Francis says 'once you can weep, then you will be able to help others from the heart.' He does so by remembering his dialogue with two children rescued from the streets in the Philippines.
Jan. 19, 2015
“I ask each one of you to ask: Can I weep? Can I weep when I see a child who is hungry, on drugs and on the street, homeless, abandoned, mistreated or exploited as a slave by society? Or is my weeping the self-centred whining of those who weep because they want to have something else?”
'Christus Vivit' talks about migrants, asking young people not to fall into the trap of seeing them 'as a threat, and not possessed of the same inalienable dignity as every other human being.'
He also asks young people to help fight abuse. The pope writes, 'if you see a priest at risk, because he has lost the joy of his ministry, or seeks affective compensation, or is taking the wrong path, remind him of his commitment to God and his people, remind him of the Gospel and urge him to hold to his course.'
MESSAGES FROM WYD
The pope repeats many of his messages from World Youth Days in Rio de Janeiro, Krakow and Panama.
He says youth are called not to pursue superficiality. Rather, they are to live out true faith based on a personal friendship with God, and renewed by the Eucharist and confession.
July 28, 2013
“I ask you, instead, to be revolutionaries, to swim against the tide; yes, I am asking you to rebel against this culture that sees everything as temporary and that ultimately believes that you are incapable of responsibility, that you are incapable of true love. I have confidence in you and I pray for you. Have the courage 'to swim against the tide.'”
Aug. 2, 2016
'We didnt come into this world to 'vegetate,' to take it easy, to make our lives a comfortable sofa to fall asleep on. No, we came for another reason: to leave a mark. It is very sad to pass through life without leaving a mark.'
Jan. 29, 2019
“Commitment makes us grow. This is what makes us big. You all gave the best of yourselves to make possible the miracle of multiplication, not only of loaves but of hope. In giving the best of yourselves, by committing yourselves, you performed the miracle of multiplying hope. We need to multiply hope. Thank you all for this.”
HOW TO HELP YOUNG PEOPLE
The pope asks the Church to question why young people 'frequently fail to find in our usual programs a response to their concerns, their needs, their problems and issues.'
He is concerned with formation offering “doctrinal content” that overlooks each person's personal encounter with God.
He asks that it be an 'Church with open doors,' in which one does not have “to accept fully all the teachings of the Church to take part in certain of our activities for young people. It is enough to have an open mind toward all those who have the desire and willingness to be encountered by God’s revealed truth.'
RELIGION IN SCHOOLS AND UNIVERSITIES
Pope Francis asks colleges and universities to “remain the essential places for the evangelization of the young.”
He asks for self-criticism of pastoral outreaches. Many young people study religion, but when they finish, they do not have tools to apply it in their life. He says for many schools 'did not prepare them to uphold those values in a world that holds them up to ridicule, nor did they learn ways of praying and practicing the faith that can be easily sustained amid the fast pace of today’s society. '