It is Jesus that you seek when you dream of happiness; He is waiting for you when nothing else you find satisfies you.”                      --St. Pope John Paul II


Following is a message from Pope Francis to the youth of the world:

Dear young friends:

If we want it to have real meaning and fulfilment, as you want and as you deserve, I say to each one of you, "Put on faith," and your life will take on a new flavor. It will have a compass to show you the way. "Put on hope," and every one of your days will be enlightened and your horizon will no longer be dark, but luminous.  "Put on love," and your life will be like a house built on rock, and your journey will be joyful--because you will find many friends to journey with you.

Jesus is the one who brings God to us and us to God. "Put on Christ!" in your life, and you will find a friend in whom you can always trust.  "Put on Christ," and you will see the wings of hope spreading 

Pope Francis Greets the World's Youth

and letting you journey with joy towards the future.  "Put on Christ," and your life will be full of his love; it will be a fruitful life.

Do not be afraid to ask God's forgiveness! He never tires of forgiving us, like a father who loves us. God is pure mercy! You too, dear young people, can be joyful witnesses of His love, courageous witnesses of His Gospel, carrying to this world a ray of His light. The measure of the greatness of a society is found in the way it treats those most in need, those who have nothing apart from their poverty!  Be the first to seek to bring good, do not grow accustomed to evil, but defeat it.  Jesus, with His Cross, walks with us and takes upon Himself our fears, our problems, and our sufferings--even those which are deepest and most painful. With the Cross, Jesus unites Himself to the silence of the victims of violence, those who can no longer cry out, especially the innocent and the defenseless.

The Cross of Christ bears the suffering and the sin of mankind, including our own. Jesus accepts all this with open arms, bearing on His shoulders our crosses and saying to us, "Have courage! You do not carry your cross alone! I carry it with you. I have overcome death and I have come to give you hope, to give you life" (John 3:16).  What has the Cross left in each one of us? You see, it gives us a treasure that no one else can give: the certainty of the faithful love which God has for us. A love so great that it enters into our sin and forgives it, enters into our suffering and gives us the strength to bear it. It is a love which enters into death to conquer it and to save us.

My dear young people, let us entrust ourselves to Jesus, let us give ourselves over to Him because He never disappoints anyone! Only in Christ crucified and risen can we find salvation and redemption. With Him, evil, suffering, and death do not have the last word, because He gives us hope and life: He has transformed the Cross from being an instrument of hate, defeat, and death to being a sign of love, victory, triumph, and life.

Today, we need a Church capable of walking at people's sides, of doing more than simply listening to them; a Church which accompanies them on their journey; a Church able to make sense of the "night" contained in the flight of so many of our brothers and sisters from Jerusalem; a Church which realizes that the reasons why people leave also contain reasons why they can eventually return. But we need to know how to interpret--with courage--the larger picture.

Nothing is loftier than the abasement of the Cross, since there we truly approach the height of love! Do we know anything more powerful than the strength hidden within the weakness of love,  goodness, truth?  People today are attracted by things that are faster and faster: rapid Internet connections, speedy cars and planes, instant relationships. But at the same time we see a desperate need for calmness, I would even say slowness. Is the Church still able to move slowly: to take the time to listen, to have the patience to mend and reassemble? Or is the Church herself caught up in the frantic pursuit of efficiency?

Without mercy we have little chance nowadays of becoming part of a world of "wounded" persons in need of understanding, forgiveness, and love. It is your life that Jesus wants to enter with His word, with His presence. Please, let Christ and His word enter your life, blossom and grow. I am sure that you don't want to be duped by a false freedom, always at the beck and call of momentary fashions and fads. I know that you are aiming high, at long-lasting decisions which will make your lives meaningful. Jesus is capable of letting you do this: He is "the way, and the truth, and the life" (John 14:6). Let's trust in Him. Let's make Him our guide!

Jesus offers us the possibility of a fulfilled and fruitful life; He also offers us a future with Him, an endless future and eternal life. But He asks us to train, to get in shape, so that we can face every situation in life undaunted, bearing witness to our faith. How do we get in shape? By talking with Him: by prayer, which is our daily conversation with God, who always listens to us. By the sacraments, which make His life grow within us and conform us to Christ. By loving one another, learning to listen, to understand, to forgive, to be accepting and to help others--with no one excluded or ostracized. 

God calls you to make definitive choices, and He has a plan for each of you: to discover that plan and to respond to your vocation is to move toward personal fulfilment.  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.  Do not be afraid to go and to bring Christ into every area of life, to the fringes of society, even to those who seem farthest away, most indifferent.

The Church needs you, your enthusiasm, your creativity and the joy that is so characteristic of you.  "Do not be afraid!" When we go to proclaim Christ, it is He Himself who goes before us and guides us. When He sent His disciples on mission, He promised: "I am with you always" (Mt 28:20). And this is also true for us! Jesus does not leave us alone, He never leaves you alone! He always accompanies you.

Be sure of this: my pastoral heart embraces all of you with universal affection.  --Pope Francis