“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.
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“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.
“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!”
Pope Francis called on young people to ask their parents, grandparents, and elderly in their communities about their relationship with God. “You will benefit from hearing the experiences of those who have gone before you,” he added.
“Dear young people, now is the time to set out in haste towards concrete encounters, towards genuine acceptance of those different from ourselves,” he implored.
“Only thus will we bridge distances — between generations, social classes, ethnic and other groups — and even put an end to wars,” he added. “Young people always represent the hope for new unity within our fragmented and divided human family. But only if they can preserve memory, only if they can hear the dramas and dreams of the elderly.”
The Holy Father remarked that his message to young people is “Jesus himself,” while adding Mary is the model who shows how to bring Christ to the world.
Referencing the apparitions of Our Lady of Fatima in 1917, Pope Francis noted that from Fatima, Mary “addressed to people of all ages the powerful and magnificent message of God’s love, which summons us to conversion and to true freedom.”
He then invited young people to travel to Lisbon next August, while noting that local celebrations of World Youth Day will take place Nov. 20, the feast of Christ the King.
“Now is the time to arise! Like Mary, let us ‘arise and go in haste.’ Let us carry Jesus within our hearts and bring him to all those whom we meet,” Pope Francis concluded. “In this beautiful season of your lives, press ahead and do not postpone all the good that the Holy Spirit can accomplish in you! With affection, I bless your dreams and every step of your journey.”
Joseph Bukuras is a staff writer at the Catholic News Agency. Joe holds a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from The Catholic University of America. He has interned in the U.S. House of Representatives, on a U.S. Senate campaign, in the Massachusetts State House of Representatives, and at the Susan B. Anthony List. He is based out of the Boston area