Pope Francis on Saturday evening made a phone call to a group of young Italians who were on pilgrimage, encouraging them to embrace hope in God and reject mediocrity.
“Don’t let yourselves be discouraged by failure or anxiousness that wants to remove your dreams, that wants to close you into its dark mentality rather than letting you fly in the light of hope. Please, do not fall into mediocrity, into that mediocrity that lowers and makes us grey, for life is not grey, life is for betting on grand ideas and for great things,” he said in a phone call on June 7 to the participants of the 36th annual pilgrimage from Macerata to Loreto, Italy.
The basilica in Loreto is believed to contain the “holy house” where the Angel Gabriel appeared to Mary at the annunciation.
The Pope said that was pleased to be with the young pilgrims “virtually,” the Holy See Press Office reports. He asked especially for their prayers for the June 8 meeting of prayer at the Vatican with the presidents of Israel and Palestine and the Orthodox Christian Patriarch of Constantinople, Bartholomew I.
“I ask you please, unite yourselves to us and ask God, through the intercession of the Madonna of Loreto, to make resound in that land in a new way, the song of the angels, ‘Glory to God in the highest and peace to mankind’,” the Pope added.
Pope Francis also expressed his joy at the theme chosen for the pilgrimage, “God is the Lord of surprises!”, saying “this is true!”
“For this reason, don’t be afraid to dream of a more just world; to ask, to seek, and to enhance,” he stressed.
“You know that faith is not an inheritance that we receive from others, faith is not a product that one buys, but is a response of love that we give freely and we build daily with patience, through success and failure.”
The Pope encouraged the young people to trust in God’s goodness, urging, “don’t be afraid to throw yourselves into the arms of God.”
He emphasized that they should not give into the temptation to be negative, but rather choose to be joyful in faith.
“Negativity is contagious but positivity is also contagious; desperation is contagious, but joy is also contagious: don’t follow negative people but continue to radiate light and hope around you! And know that hope does not deceive, it never deceives!”
Finally, Pope Francis reminded the pilgrims that “nothing is lost with God, but without him, everything is lost.” He stressed that they should open their hearts to God, because with faith “your eyes will see his life and his miracles.”
The pontiff concluded by asking for prayers: “Tonight, praying for peace in Loreto, close to the Madonna, don’t forget to also say a prayer for me, I need it!”