.- During his Angelus address today, Pope Francis asked the crowds to pray with him that the World Youth Day pilgrims will continue to respond to God’s call in their daily lives.
“I ask you to join me in praying that the youth who have participated in World Youth Day can translate this experience into their daily journey,” the Pope said Aug. 4 at St. Peter's Square.
“Into their daily conduct,” he continued, “and also into their important life choices, responding to the personal call of the Lord.”
The Pope cautioned, “we must not forget that World Youth Day is not just ‘fireworks,’ moments of enthusiasm for their own sake.”
Rather, “they are stages of a long journey” to follow Christ.
“Always remember, youth don’t follow the Pope, they follow Jesus Christ, carrying his cross. And the Pope guides and accompanies them in this journey of faith and hope.”
Pope Francis went on to talk about the particular difficulties faced by the youth of today. The “challenging” words from today’s first reading at Mass, he said, are especially applicable to youth.
“‘Vanity of vanities… all is vanity.’ Young people are particularly sensitive to the emptiness of meaning and values which surrounds them. And unfortunately, they pay the consequences.”
However, “meeting the living Jesus, in his large family that is the Church, fills the heart with joy,” encouraged the Pope.
He added that God fills the heart with “true life, a profound goodness that does not pass away.”
“I saw this joy on the faces of the youth in Rio. But this experience must confront today’s vanities, the poison of emptiness that creeps into our societies” from a consumerist mentality obsessed with “having.”
“True wealth is the love of God, shared amongst brothers,” said the Pope. “Someone who has experienced this does not fear death, and receives peace of heart.”
After leading the crowd in prayer, Pope Francis went on to greet the various groups assembled.
“There are many youth in the square,” he noted with a smile. “This seems like Rio de Janeiro!”