“DEAR YOUNG PEOPLE, LET YOURSELVES BE TAKEN OVER BY THE LIGHT OF CHRIST, AND SPREAD THAT LIGHT WHEREVER YOU ARE.”
–ST. JOHN PAUL II
The feast day of St Pope John Paul II is coming up this week on 22nd October. This well-known Pope and saint inspired so many young people across the world not only during his priesthood and papacy, but his writings are a guiding light for many young people today trying to navigate through life. He spoke to young people in his letters and talks and urged them to never give up hope and to give their lives to God. This message is always important but especially now.
PJPII’s courage is much to be admired, his sense of mission and uncompromising defense of the dignity of the human person is only but a few of the things we can look to him for inspiration. His very witness to hope is key for each of us. This hope was shown when he spoke in 2002 for World Youth Day, he spoke these words: “Although I have lived through much darkness under harsh totalitarian regimes, I have seen enough evidence to be unshakably convinced that no difficulty, no fear is so great that it can completely suffocate the hope that springs eternal in the hearts of the young. . . . Do not let that hope die! Stake your lives on it!”. St Peter reminds us in the bible to be ready to tell others the reason why you have hope, we can see this in 1 Peter 3:15.
So why do we have hope??
We have hope because of the victory which Christ has already won, his death on the cross was the victory, so each of us can have eternal life. At the last supper, Jesus tells us, “In the world you will have tribulation but take courage for I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). Not only did PJPII live through the loss of his family, but he also lived through a world war, a communist regime, was shot and almost killed, and had bowel cancer. He never lost hope during these troubling times.
The church needs young people
As St. John Paul II said of young people, “The Church needs your energies, your enthusiasm, your youthful ideals, in order to make the Gospel of Life penetrate the fabric of society, transforming people’s hearts and the structures of society in order to create a civilization of true justice and love.” We are tempted to lose hope during times of suffering and sorrow, or when we are confronted with many challenges to our personal situations, but the whole world desperately needs hope, each of us individually needs hope. We have this hope through Jesus Christ, who has overcome all things, whose love overcomes all evil and darkness.
How can I witness and nurture this hope?
Daily Prayer – we are so blessed with so many devotions and prayers to choose from to suit everyone. The liturgy of the hours, the rosary, morning and evening prayer, devotions to various saints, novenas, the list is endless. There is hope in every situation, hope for those who have lost their job, that this time and discernment will help you to trust in God’s plan for your life. Hope for our communities – that kindness towards others will help us understand how much we need each other and the love of thy neighbor.
At the closing mass at the first world youth day in Rome, the pope said to the World Youth Day pilgrims: “It is Jesus in fact you seek when you dream of happiness; He is waiting for you when nothing else satisfies you; He is the beauty to which you are so attracted; it is He who provokes you with that thirst for fullness that will not let you settle for compromise; it is He who urges you to shed the masks of a false life; it is He who reads in your hearts your most genuine choices, the choices that others try to stifle. It is Jesus who stirs in you the desire to do something great with your lives, the will to follow an ideal, the refusal to allow yourselves to be ground down by mediocrity.”
St Pope John Paul II pray for us