In October 2018, Pope Francis wrote the Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Christus vivit, addressed particularly to the youth. Through this Exhortation, the Pope wants to help us grow closer to Christ, who is alive, so that we, in turn, may draw other young people, who live in the same environment as us, closer to the Lord.
In the first chapters, the Holy Father puts himself in our shoes. He describes the deepest longings of our hearts and criticizes the situation we are currently living in, which many times inflicts wounds that only Jesus Christ can heal. For this reason, in the fourth chapter of the Exhortation, Pope Francis focuses on “a great message for all young people”: there is a God who is love, who saves us, who is alive, and who gives life.
In the first part of this chapter, Pope Francis goes through the Old Testament pointing out some passages that show God’s love for each creature: “I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you” (Jeremiah 31:3); “You are precious in my eyes, and honored, and I love you” (Isaiah 43:4). Additionally, the Pope states that God’s is “a love that does not overwhelm or oppress, cast aside or reduce to silence, humiliate or domineer. It is… discreet and respectful … free and freeing”. In fact, nothing hurts Him so much as the fact that you do not approach Him and do not speak to Him sincerely.
The next topic the Pope Francis speaks about is Jesus’ desire to die for you in order to save you from the power of darkness and sin through the power of His Cross. “We are saved by Jesus because He loves us and cannot go against His nature. We can do any number of things against Him, yet He loves us and He saves us. For only what is loved can be saved. Only what is embraced can be transformed. The Lord’s love is greater than all our problems, frailties and flaws.” Further along, the Pope exhorts us, “The Lord’s love is greater than all our problems, frailties and flaws. Yet it is precisely through our problems, frailties and flaws that He wants to write this love story. (…) He always, always, always embraces us after every fall, helping us to rise and get back on our feet.”
It is precisely because of the Lord’s “embrace”, of His redemption, that our life has real meaning and value. That is why the Pope encourages us to contemplate Jesus on the cross in order to let Him save us. “Contemplate His blood poured out with such great love, and let yourself be cleansed by it.”
Finally, in the same chapter, the Pope says that Jesus Christ is truly alive. This reality fills every moment of our lives. We are never alone. The Pope continues, “Rejoice with Him as with a friend who has triumphed. (...) Evil does not have the last word. Nor will it have the last word in your life, for you have a friend who loves you and wants to triumph in you.” He also speaks about how the Lord gives us life through His Spirit, which “draws you ever more deeply into the heart of Christ, so that you can grow in His love, His life and His power.”
It’s worth it to read this letter that the Pope addresses to all young people. It helps us get to know Jesus Christ as He truly is: full of life. He is with us and is constantly inviting us to receive His merciful love.
My name is Beatriz, I'm a nurse and I belong to the Home of the Mother Youth. A few years ago I took part in a mission trip to Ecuador where I realized the importance of Christ's real presence in my life. I had always been Catholic, but I was more centered on myself than on God. I realized that a life that doesn't give of itself starts to rot, and that living for myself alone, superficially, I was losing what God had given me until then. Seeing that the Lord had always been with me, that He loved me and suffered because of my lack of fidelity changed my life radically. It pushed me to want to go to Heaven by leaving my superficiality, struggling every day to be holy and to bring to others the great treasure I found. That is why I try to share the joy of the Faith with everyone, especially with young people, and one way of doing this is through this blog. Pray for me!