A vision for today's young people

Pope Francis

Editorial - Winter 2017

Frank Freeman SDB, Editor of the Salesian Bulletin

Recently Pope Francis has issued to today’s young people a call to action, a challenge and a vision. “‘Dear young people, we didn’t come into this world to vegetate, to take it easy, and to make our lives a comfortable sofa to fall asleep on. The times we live in do not call for young couch potatoes, but for young people with walking shoes. No, we came for another reason: To leave a mark.’

We, in the Christian Communities need your youthful idealism with walking shoes on or better sneakers to shake us out of the comfort zones we have created for ourselves. We offer you the following vision of the Christian life with all its enriching lifegiving elements. It comes with life-long guarantee, underwritten by Christ Himself. “Do this and you will live…” (Luke 10:27)

Amid the many personal difficulties and temptations which surround you, trust in God’s unconditional love, acceptance and forgiveness; discover a loving God by living in the state of forgiveness in what is generally an unforgiving world. This is the surest way of living in His presence.

While many around you are caught up in nets of frustration and aimlessness, even to the point of ending it all, stand firm and give meaning and purpose in life by Gospel living.

Surrounded by friction and violence as you are, be peacemakers promoting reconciliation and healing in families and communities. You yourselves will find peace. You have Christ’s assurance: “Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the children of God.”

Because we are bequeathing to you a much polluted world, be good and better stewards of God’s creation. With all your youthful enthusiasm join the forces crusading against the selfish destruction of the earth’s resources so you may leave your children a cleaner planet to inhabit.

We have created a materialistic consumer society which is perpetrating a grand hoax that possessions and power give happiness. Resist it and expose it. You will regain your freedom by living a life of simplicity freed from the shackling chains of consumerism. “Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the Kingdom of God.”

You are growing to maturity in a world that has little respect for human life and basic rights. Become passionate promoters of human dignity, personal worth and equality of all people by demanding ‘in season and out of season’ the recognition that people are created in the image and likeness of God.

In these days of unemployment, discrimination and poverty, become champions of social justice by making sure that the essential human and material needs of all people are met in a world free of poverty and oppression of all kinds.

Amid the selfishness and cruel sensitivities of authorities and individuals, be compassionate and serve those in need. You will need to develop a special sensitivity to human suffering and fragility, and then the courage to respond. “Blessed are the merciful for mercy shall be theirs.”

You have witnessed a tragic breakdown in loving relationships and the abandonment of lifelong commitments. Do not give up nor despair. You have it within you to change this sorry state of affairs. Develop loving relationships built upon commitment, faithfulness, honesty and a concern for the other person. “Blessed are the pure in spirit for they shall see God.”

It has been said by a modern sociologist that, if you want to get a message across, wrap it up in a person. May the Gospel message of Christ be wrapped up in your idealism and youthful enthusiasm. May it ripple out from you to many others thus creating a better world for you and your children. God, grant it may be so.



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