Pope Francis Historic Letter to Medjugorje faithful attending 31st Youth Festival…. “I entrust you to the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary”

Dear Youth!

The annual meeting of the youth in Međugorje is the time filled with prayer, catechesis and fraternal meeting, which gives you the opportunity to meet the living Jesus Christ, in a special way, in the celebration of the Blessed Eucharist, in adoration before the Blessed Sacrament and in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. It thus helps you discover a different way of life, different from that offered by the culture of the temporary, according to which nothing can be permanent, and which knows only the enjoyment in the present moment. In this atmosphere of relativism, in which it is difficult to find true and sure answers, the motto of the Festival: >Come and you shall see< (Jn 1,39), the words used by Jesus to address his disciples, are a blessing. Jesus is also looking at you, inviting you to come and stay with Him.

Don’t be afraid! Christ lives and wants you to be alive. He is the true beauty and youth of this world. Everything He touches becomes young, new, full of life and meaning (cf. Apostolic exhortation. Christus vivit, 1). This is exactly what we see in the Gospel scene, in which the Lord asks two disciples following Him: >What are you looking for?<. And they answer: >Rabbi, where do you live?< And Jesus tells them: >Come and you shall see < (cf. Jn 1,35-39). They came, they saw, and they stayed. The experience of meeting Jesus was so imprinted in the disciples” memory that one of them even recorded the time of the meeting: >It was around four o’clock in the afternoon< (v. 39).

The Gospel describes how, after being in the house of the Lord, the two disciples became >mediators< who made it possible for others to meet, know and inherit Him. Andrew immediately went to share his experience with his brother Simon and brought him to Jesus. The teacher, seeing him, gave him the nickname: >Kefa<, ie. >Rock<, which will become the personal name of Peter (cf. Jn 1: 40-42). This shows how in the encounter with Jesus, we become a new person and we receive a mission to pass on the experience onto others, but with a view always focused on Him, on the Lord.

Dear youth, have you met this look of Jesus asking you: >What are you looking for?< Have you heard his voice speaking to you: >Come and you shall see<? Have you felt the urge to set off? Spend this time with Jesus, to be filled with His Spirit and thus become ready for the adventure of a lifetime. Set off to meet Him, stay with Him in prayer, confide in Him as He knows the human heart.
The beautiful call of the Lord: >Come and you shall see<, which was conveyed to us by the young and beloved disciple of Christ, is also addressed to all future disciples. Jesus invites you to meet Him, and this Festival is an opportunity to >come and see<. The word >come<, in addition to pointing to bodily movement, has a much deeper, spiritual meaning. It points to the course of faith whose ultimate goal is to >see<, that is, to experience the Lord and thanks to Him to see the full and final meaning of our existence.

The great example of the Church of the Young Heart, ready to follow Christ with new freshness and fidelity, always remains the Virgin Mary. The power of Her >yes< and Her >let it be unto me< which she said before the angel delights always. Her >yes< means to participate and take risks, without any guarantee other than the certainty in the knowledge that she is the bearer of the promise. Her >Behold the handmaid of the Lord< (Lk 1,38), the most beautiful example that tells us what happens when a man, in his freedom, surrenders himself into God’s hands.

Let this example inspire you and be your guide! Mary is the Mother who watches >over us, her children who walk through life often overwhelmed by fatigue, needy, but with the wish for the light of hope never to be extinguished. This is our wish: may the light of hope never go out. Our Mother sees these pilgrim people, the young people who love, who seek in silence, despite the fact that there is so much noise, chatter and distraction < (Christus vivit, 48).

Dear youth, >run attracted by that Face we love so much, whom we worship in Eucharist and recognize in the body of our suffering brothers and sisters. May the Holy Spirit encourage you in that race in which you go forward. The church needs your momentum, your intuition, your faith < (op. cit., 299). In this race for the Gospel, inspired by this Festival as well, I entrust you to the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, invoking the light and the power of the Holy Spirit so that you may be true witnesses of Christ. Therefore, I pray and I bless you, asking you to pray for me, too.