By Cindy Wooden, Catholic News Service
VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Continuing to talk about the “grave danger” humanity is facing because of the war in Ukraine and Russia’s threat to use nuclear weapons, Pope Francis urged a group of young people from Belgium to be peacemakers.
“As you well know, we are going through difficult times for humanity, which is in great danger. We are in grave danger,” the pope told about 300 young people making a pilgrimage to Rome.
Meeting the group Oct. 10, Pope Francis urged them to “be artisans of peace around you and within you; ambassadors of peace, so that the world rediscovers the beauty of love, of living together, of fraternity and solidarity.”
Quoting his 2019 apostolic exhortation to young people, the pope said their vocation, like the vocation of all laypeople, is to make “a concrete and faith-based commitment to the building of a new society. It involves living in the midst of society and the world in order to bring the Gospel everywhere, to work for the growth of peace, harmony, justice, human rights and mercy, and thus for the extension of God’s kingdom in this world.”
Encouraging their commitment to their faith and praising their efforts to share the Gospel with their peers, the pope told them, “You are not just the future of the church — no, not just that — you are its present. It needs you because the church is young. It needs your generosity, your joy, your desire to build a different world, one imbued with the values of fraternity, peace and reconciliation.”
In addition to their joy and enthusiasm, young people naturally have “fears, difficulties, wounds, the need to face your limits, crises,” he said, but they must not be afraid.
If their relationship with Christ is solid, the pope said, they will have a different perspective that will help them see challenges as occasions for growth.
“Also,” he told them, “do not be afraid to accept your fragility or weaknesses, but do it with humility: ‘These are my limits, but I’m moving forward.'”
“You do not need to be superheroes, but rather people who are sincere, true and free,” the pope told them.