CHRIST IS ALIVE. The Pope’s letter to youth, editorial team •
“Christ is alive. He is our hope, and in a wonderful way he brings youth to our world. Everything he touches becomes young, new, full of life. Christ is alive and he wants you to be alive!” Thus begins the post-synodal apostolic exhortation “Christus Vivit” (Christ is a live), signed by Pope Francis in Loreto, in the Marian shrine of the Holy House on 25 March, and published by the Vatican on 2 April.—
The exhortation follows from the Synod on Young People, Faith and Vocational Discernment which took place from 3 to 28 october 2018. In fact, Pope Francis states that, at the time of writing, he was inspired by the debates during the Synod and the conclusions of made in its final document.
It is an extensive document consisting of 299 points divided into 9 chapters focusing on different topics. Among them we find the following:
- A youthful Church that renews itself
- The diversity of youth
- Mary as a role model for the youth
- Youth in a world of crisis
- The problems of youth
- sexual abuse of minors
- youth as a time of vocational discernment
- The relationship between young people and the elderly
- Youth ministry
- The vocation to marriage and the vocation to the consecrated life.
The document is particularly addressed to the youth of the Church, but it is also for the entire People of God.
The Pope gives a brief account of the journey that resulted in this document: “I have let myself be inspired by the wealth of reflections and conversations that emerged from last year’s Synod. He adds: “In this way, my words will echo the myriad voices of believers the world over who made their opinions known to the Synod. Those young people who are not believers, yet wished to share their thoughts, also raised issues that led me to ask new questions”.
The Holy Father’s letter in 10 sentences … from a “covenant” perspective
Which are the 10 sentences that touch us most as Schoestatt youth and those young at heart, apostles, missionaries, those of us who allow ourselves to be challenged by the voice of the Holy Father, and the voices of the Chilean youth in their “Letter from the Youth“.
- Everything he touches becomes young, new, full of life. (1)
What should Christ touch in our, in my Schoenstatt so that it becomes young?
- I have let myself be inspired by the wealth of reflections and conversations that emerged from last year’s Synod…my words will echo the myriad voices of believers the world over who made their opinions known to the Synod. (3)
Where have we allowed ourselves to be inspired by the reflections, the conversation, the experiences of the Synod and the young people within own Movement? Where and how do we enter into a sincere dialogue, a mutual inspiration that goes beyond the “How nice” or thumbs up on social networks?
- With him at our side, we can drink from the true wellspring that keeps alive all our dreams, our projects, our great ideals, while impelling us to proclaim what makes life truly worthwhile. (32)
What dreams, projects and ideals urge us to action today?
- Let us ask the Lord to free the Church from those who would make her grow old, encase her in the past, hold her back or keep her at a standstill. (35)
Where do we see something or someone trying undermine the flexibility, mobility, novelty of our Schoenstatt? Where do we see free initiatives being stopped? Where do we experience the burden of institution? Where do we fall into the “it always been this way” mentality?
- We must dare to be different…testifying to the beauty of generosity, service, purity, perseverance, forgiveness, fidelity to our personal vocation, prayer, the pursuit of justice and the common good, love for the poor, and social friendship. (36)
In which projects and initiatives do we testify to the beauty of generosity, service, purity, perseverance, forgiveness, fidelity to our personal vocation, prayer, the pursuit of justice and the common good, love for the poor, and social friendship?
- Mary’s was the ‘yes’ of someone prepared to be committed, someone willing to take a risk, ready to stake everything she had, with no more security than the certainty of knowing that she was the bearer of a promise. So I ask each one of you. Do you see yourselves as the bearers of a promise? What promise is present in my heart that I can take up? (44)
Do we feel that we are the bearers of a promise? In our project, our community, our shrine …? What promise do we hold in our hearts that we can carry forward?
- The digital world can expose you to the risk of self-absorption, isolation and empty pleasure. But don’t forget that there are young people even there who show creativity and even genius. (104)
How do we navigate in the digital world? What do we do to fill the spaces of the digital world, from the Internet to our cellphones, with a covenant culture, with good news and real stories of covenant life?
- To talk about young people is to talk about promise and to talk about joy. Young people have so much strength; they are able to look ahead with hope. A young person is a promise of life that implies a certain degree of tenacity. He is foolish enough to delude himself, and resilient enough to recover from that delusion. (139)
Where do we find young people or people who are young at heart with this strength, hope, tenacity and foolishness?
- 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. (143)
Where do we want to and can open the cage and fly out, to make a ruckus?
- Don’t wait until tomorrow to contribute your energy, your audacity and your creativity to changing our world. Your youth is not an “in-between time”. You are the now of God, and he wants you to bear fruit. (178)
Where do we allow ourselves to be anesthetized with the idea that ‘Schoenstatt is for tomorrow’? Where can we throw ourselves even more into the world as the “Now of God”?
The Holy Father concludes with a wish: “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 sisters. May the Holy Spirit urge you on as you run this race. The Church needs your momentum, your intuitions, your faith. We need them! And when you arrive where we have not yet reached, have the patience to wait for us”.
We conclude with the wish for many testimonies and comments, other “10 sentences” and a Schoenstatt that is ever young in a youthful Church, touched by Christ. He is alive.
Original: Spanish, 5 May. Translation: Sarah-Leah Pimentel, Cape Town, South Africa, with material from www.vatican.va