Pope Francis began again this August 9 his Wednesday general audiences after a brief summer break. As he has just returned from Portugal where he led the World Youth Day, the Pope dedicated his reflection to that event.
One point he reiterated from his stop-over in Fatima:
I like to invoke Our Lady in this way, Our Lady “in haste.” She always does things in haste, she never makes us wait; She is the mother of everyone. In this way, Mary guides the pilgrimage of young people in following Jesus today, in the third millennium. Just as she did a century ago in Portugal, at Fatima, when she spoke to three children, entrusting them with a message of faith and hope for the Church and the world.
That is why, in World Youth Day, I returned to Fatima, where the apparition took place, and, together with some sick young people, I prayed to God that he would heal the world of the diseases of the soul: pride, lies, enmity, violence are diseases of the soul, and the world is ailing from these diseases. And we renewed our consecration, the consecration of Europe, of the world, to Mary, to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. I prayed for peace because there are so many wars all over the world, so many.
An encounter with the living Christ
Pope Francis spoke about the spiritual meaning of World Youth Day, an international event created by Pope John Paul II.
The young people of the world came to Lisbon in large numbers and with great enthusiasm. I met them in small groups and some with a great deal of problems; the group of young Ukrainians who brought stories that were painful. It was not a holiday, a tourist trip, nor even a spiritual event for its own sake. World Youth Day is an encounter with the living Christ through the Church, the young people go to encounter Christ; it is true that where there are young people there is joy, there is a bit of all these things!
Young people have a request for the powerful
The Holy Father noted how the witness of young people shows something to the world:
While in Ukraine and other places in the world there is fighting, and while in certain hidden halls war is planned – this is bad, war is planned! – World Youth Day showed everyone that another way is possible, a world of brothers and sisters, where the flags of all peoples fly together, next to each other, without hatred, without fear, without closing up, without weapons! The message of the young people was clear: Will the “mighty of the earth” listen to it, I wonder? This youthful enthusiasm that wants peace?
It is a parable for our time, and even today Jesus says: “Whoever have ears, let them hear! Whoever has eyes, let them see!” Let us hope that the entire world listens to this World Youth Day and watches this beauty of the young, going forward.
The intercession of Edith Stein
After the catechesis, in greetings to various language groups and to the sick and newlyweds, the Pope noted today’s feast of St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross.
Today we celebrate the feast day commemoration of St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein), Virgin and Martyr, Co-Patroness of Europe: May her witness stimulate commitment to dialogue and brotherhood among peoples and against all forms of violence and discrimination. To her intercession we entrust the dear Ukrainian people, that they may soon find peace again.