This morning in Rome, Pope Francis met with students and teachers from Jesuit-run schools in Italy and Albania and offered words of encouragement, according to the Vatican Information Service.
The Holy Father took the opportunity to encourage the students to exercise an authentic sense of freedom.
Before all else be free persons! … Freedom means knowing how to reflect on what we do, knowing how to evaluate … which are the behaviours that make us grow. It means always choosing the good. … Being free to always choose the good is challenging, but it will make you persons with a backbone, who know how to face life, courageous and patient persons.
Pope Francis spoke about the importance of service to others, but also emphasized that spiritual formation is the requirement for service. He encouraged the students to love Jesus and feel His presence particularly through prayer and reading the Bible.
The Holy Father told the teachers present at the talk that "Educating isn't a profession but an attitude, a way of being." He reminded the teachers to be good examples to their students. He said:
[I]mpart knowledge and values with their words but it will be more influential on the kids if your words are accompanied by your witness, by being consistent in your lives. It isn't possible to educate without being consistent!
Pope Francis stressed that the virtue of magnanimity is central to Jesuit education. He told the students that magnanimity is achieved with Jesus and in contemplation of Jesus. He explained:
What does it mean to be magnanimous? It means to have a big heart, to have a great spirit; it means to have great ideals, the desire to do great things to respond to that which God asks of us, and exactly this doing of daily things well, all of the daily acts, obligations, encounters with people; doing everyday small things with a big heart open to God and to others.
Read more from the Holy Father's meeting with students from Jesuit-run schools at Vatican Information Service and La Stampa.
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