VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis encouraged the youth of the world to persist in their faith even in the midst of obstacles at a Mass where he confirmed 44 young people.
“Remaining steadfast in the journey of faith, with firm hope in the Lord, is the secret of our journey,” he told more than 70,000 young people gathered yesterday in St. Peter’s Square.
“There are no difficulties, trials or misunderstandings to fear, provided we remain united to God as branches to the vine, provided we do not lose our friendship with him, provided we make ever more room for him in our lives,” he said during the 10am Mass.
The Mass marked the ending of a two-day celebration as part of the Year of Faith, which gathered thousands of youths from around the world.
The day before, the young people had met with teachers of faith, or catechists, at St. Peter's Square for a pilgrimage to the tombs of St. Peter and Blessed John Paul II.
The Eucharistic celebration was dedicated to the 44 young people from around the world to whom the Pope imparted the sacrament of confirmation and to those who had already received the sacrament earlier this year.
“To go against the current, this is good for the heart, but we need courage to swim against the tide,” Pope Francis noted. “Jesus gives us this courage.”
Examining the day's Gospel reading, the Holy Father observed that the Holy Spirit “makes all things new” and “changes us.”
“The Holy Spirit is truly transforming us, and through us he also wants to transform the world in which we live,” explained the Pope.
“How beautiful it would be,” he said, “if each of you, every evening, could say: Today at school, at home, at work, guided by God, I showed a sign of love towards one of my friends, my parents, an older person.”
He noted that when God makes all things “new,” they are not like “the novelties of this world, all of which are temporary,” but are “lasting, not only in the future, but today as well.”
Pope Francis also explained that “we must undergo many trials if we are to enter the Kingdom of God.”
“To follow the Lord, to let his Spirit transform the shadowy parts of our lives, our ungodly ways of acting, and cleanse us of our sins, is to set out on a path with many obstacles, both in the world around us, but also within us, in the heart,” he said.
He explained that trials are “part of the path that leads to God's glory,” and he told the pilgrims that they will always encounter difficulties in life.
“Do not be discouraged,” the Pope said. “We have the power of the Holy Spirit to overcome these trials!”