By Kayla Johnson
Pope Francis recently released his latest apostolic exhortation entitled Christus Vivit or Christ Lives. I had the chance to read it last night, and it gave me so much hope in my role as a young person in the Church and renewed my zeal for Superior Disciple’s mission. I have recently been feeling run down and overwhelmed by the things of this world. Pope Francis’s words helped to remind me that I must continue to turn to Jesus, the giver of life, to give to the world what I can only receive from him.
In the exhortation, Pope Francis touches on a range of topics that relate to young people in today’s world. I highly recommend reading it. Here are a few highlights that I found to be especially powerful that I wanted to share with you:
- “Dear young people, make the most of these years of your youth. Don’t observe life from a balcony. Don’t confuse happiness with an armchair, or live your life behind a screen. Whatever you do, do not become the sorry sight of an abandoned vehicle! Don’t be parked cars, but dream freely and make good decisions. Take risks, even if it means making mistakes. Don’t go through life anaesthetized or approach the world like tourists. Make a ruckus! Cast out the fears that paralyze you, so that you don’t become young mummies. Live! Give yourselves over to the best of life! Open the door of the cage, go out and fly. Please, don’t take early retirement.”
- “If you are young in years, but feel weak, weary or disillusioned, ask Jesus to renew you. With him, hope never fails. Jesus, brimming with life, wants to help you make your youth worthwhile. In this way you will not deprive the world of the contribution that you alone can make, in all your uniqueness and originality.”
- “The experience of friendship teaches us to be open, understanding and caring towards others, to come out of our own comfortable isolation and to share our live with others. Friendship is no fleeting or temporary relationship, but one that is stable, firm and faithful, and mature with the passage of time. A relationship of affection that brings us together and a generous love that makes us seek the good of our friend.”
- Imitating the saints does not mean copying their lifestyle and their way of living holiness: “There are some testimonies that may prove helpful and inspiring, but that we are not meant to copy, for that could even lead us astray from the one specific path that the Lords has in mind for us.” You have to discover who are and develop your own way of being holy, whatever others may say or think. Becoming a saint means becoming more fully yourself, becoming what the Lord wished to dream and create, and not a photocopy. Your life ought to be a prophetic stimulus to others and leave a mark on this world, the unique mark that only you can leave. Whereas if you simply copy someone else, you will deprive the earth, and heaven too, of something that no one else can offer.”
PS: A very powerful song that speaks to this point is “The Saint That is Just Me” by Danielle Rose. Check it out!
- “Dear young people, my joyful hope is to see you keep running the race before you, outstripping all those who are slow or fearful. Keep running, attracted by the face of Christ, whom we love so much, whom we adore in the Holy Eucharist and acknowledge in the flesh of our suffering brothers and sister. May the Holy Spirit urge you on as you run this race. The Church needs your momentum, you intuitions, your faith. We need them! And when you arrive where we have not yet reached, have the patience to wait for us.”
I hope the words of Pope Francis inspire you to continue to live out the mission of Superior Disciple. The sacrifice you put forth to make Superior Disciple a reality is SO IMPORTANT and life changing. If you don’t believe me, take it from the pope! As he shares, “[t]he Church needs your momentum, your intuitions, your faith.” Superior Disciple needs your momentum! The Diocese of Superior needs your momentum!
My prayer is that we can continue to run this race together, guided by the Holy Spirit and strengthened by a life-giving Christ.