The pope noted that he had witnessed the lighting of a qulliq, a traditional Inuit oil lamp that burns using seal or whale blubber.
“When you feel sad or downcast, think of the qulliq: It has a message for you. What message? That you are meant to come into the light each day. Not just on the day of your birth, when it did not depend on you, but every day. Each day you are called to bring new light into the world, the light of your eyes, the light of your smile, the light of the goodness that you and you alone can bring,” he said.
“Yet, to come into the light, to be reborn, you need to fight each day against the darkness. For there is a daily clash between light and darkness, which does not take place somewhere out there, but within each of us. To follow the way of light requires courageous and heartfelt decisions to resist the darkness of lies.”
The pope offered some criteria whereby young people can better discern light from darkness.
“"We too, if we want to become better, must learn to distinguish light from darkness," he said. "Where do we start? You can start by asking yourself: What are the things that first strike me as glittery and seductive, but then leave me with a feeling of deep emptiness? That is the darkness! What, on the other hand, is good for me and leaves a feeling of peace in my heart, even if it first calls me to give up certain conveniences and to master certain instincts? That is the light!”
The way to please God is to use your freedom to choose to do good, the pope said.
“Freedom does not mean doing everything I want and acting as I please. Freedom is not about what I can do in spite of others, but what I can do for others. Freedom is not total caprice, but responsibility. Freedom, along with life, is the greatest gift that our heavenly Father has given us,” he said.
The pope’s final piece of advice for the young people was “Be part of a team.” To illustrate teamwork he used imagery from Canada’s most popular sport, hockey.
“Hockey combines discipline and creativity, tactics, and physical strength; but team spirit always makes the difference; it is essential for responding to the unpredictability of every game,” Pope Francis said.
“Teamwork means believing that, in order to achieve great goals, you cannot go it alone; you have to move together, to have the patience to practice and carry out complicated plays. Teamwork also involves making room for others, dashing out quickly when it is your turn and cheering on your teammates. That is team spirit!” he continued.
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“It is my hope and prayer that, by listening to your elders and drawing from the richness of your traditions and your personal freedom, you will embrace the Gospel preserved and handed down by your ancestors, and thus come to see the Inuk face of Jesus Christ,” Pope Francis concluded.
Following the speech, the Governor General of Canada, Mary Simon, was scheduled to see off Pope Francis at Iqaluit International Airport.
Jonah McKeown is a staff writer and podcast producer for Catholic News Agency. He holds a Master’s Degree from the University of Missouri School of Journalism and has worked as a writer, as a producer for public radio, and as a videographer. He is based in St. Louis.