He then implored young people to consider: “How do I react to the needs that I see all around me? Do I think immediately of some reason not to get involved? Or do I show interest and willingness to help?”
Pope Francis noted that when others are in need, “we need to act quickly.”
“What kinds of ‘haste’ do you have, dear young people? What leads you to feel a need to get up and go, lest you end up standing still?” he questioned.
“But the real question in life is instead,” he continued, “for whom am I living?”
Mary is an example of a young person who doesn’t seek attention or others’ approval, Pope Francis remarked, mentioning a certain dependence on “likes” on social media platforms.
“She sets out to find the most genuine of all ‘connections’: the one that comes from encounter, sharing, love, and service,” he added.
Pope Francis noted that there are many records of Marian apparitions and testimonies of encountering Mary throughout history.
“There is practically no place on earth that she has not visited,” he pointed out. Pope Francis added that the many devotions to Mary — that are often seen in pilgrimages, festivities, prayers, the enthronement of images in houses — are an example of Mary’s relationship with “her people, who visit one another in turn!”
“A healthy haste,” Pope Francis remarked, “drives us always upwards and towards others.” An unhealthy haste “can drive us to live superficially and to take everything lightly,” he added.
An unhealthy haste lacks commitment, concern, and investment, Pope Francis noted. Unhealthy haste can occur in close relationships like between friends and family members, he added. But it can even happen between couples, he reminded young people.
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“We can have the same attitude in school, at work, and in other areas of our daily lives,” he explained. “When things are done in haste, they tend not to be fruitful. They risk remaining barren and lifeless. As we read in the Book of Proverbs: ‘the plans of the diligent lead surely to abundance, but everyone who is hasty comes only to want.’”
Pope Francis reflected on the humility of Elizabeth, who did not brag to Mary about God’s miraculous intervention of bringing her a child in her old age.
“She would have had every reason to begin by talking about herself, yet she was not ‘full of herself,’ but anxious to welcome her young cousin and the fruit of her womb,” Pope Francis noted.
“As soon as she heard Mary’s greeting, Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit,” he said in his message. “Such surprises and outpourings of the Spirit come about when we show true hospitality, when we put others, not ourselves, at the center.”
Pope Francis remarked that many people have met Christ unexpectedly, which has brought respect for other people. Many people have realized that Christ wants to be close and share his life with all, he added.
“The joy of this experience made us hasten to welcome him, to feel the need to be with him and to get to know him better,” he noted. “Elizabeth and Zechariah welcomed Mary and Jesus into their home. Let us learn from these two elderly persons the meaning of hospitality!”