Panama City, Panama, Jan 26, 2019 / 17:43 pm
Reflecting on the Blessed Virgin Mary’s fiat, Pope Francis encouraged World Youth Day participants Saturday night to say yes to God’s grace in their lives.
“In a few moments, we will encounter the living Jesus in eucharistic adoration. You can be sure that he has many things to say to you, about different situations in your lives, families and countries,” Pope Francis said in his address at the vigil with young people for World Youth Day at Campo San Juan Pablo II in Panama City, Jan. 26.
“Face to face with him, don’t be afraid to open your heart to him and to ask him to renew the fire of his love, so that you can embrace life with all its frailty and flaws, but also with its grandeur and beauty. May he help you to discover the beauty of being alive.”
The pope concluded: “Do not be afraid to tell him that you too want to be a part of his love story in this world, that you are ready for something greater!”
The life that Christ gives “is a love story, a life history that wants to blend with ours and sink roots in the soil of our own lives,” Pope Francis said. “The salvation the Lord offers us is an invitation to be part of a love story interwoven with our personal stories; it is alive and wants to be born in our midst so that we can bear fruit just as we are, wherever we are and with everyone all around us. The Lord comes there to sow and to be sown. He is the first to say ‘yes’ to our lives and our history, and he wants us to say ‘yes’ along with him.”
When asked “to be part of this love story” at the Annunciation, Mary said yes and was able “to trust in the love and promises of God,” the pope said.
“We are always struck by the strength of that young woman’s ‘yes’, the words ‘be it done’ that she spoke to the angel. This was no merely passive or resigned acceptance or a faint ‘yes’ … It was something else, something different. It was the “yes” of someone prepared to be committed and take a risk, ready to stake everything she had, with no more security than the certainty of knowing that she was the bearer of a promise.”
While Mary faced an undoubtedly difficult mission, Francis reflected, “the challenges that lay ahead were no reason to say ‘no’. Things would get complicated, of course, but not in the same way as happens when cowardice paralyzes us because things are not clear or sure in advance. The ‘yes’ and the desire to serve were stronger than any doubts and difficulties.”
The pope then spoke of how Mary’s fiat “echoes and expands in every generation” as people continue to “take a risk and stake their future on a promise.”
He pointed to a testimony given earlier by a Panamanian couple, Erika and Rogelio, who chose to welcome the birth of their daughter Inés, who has Down syndrome.