Pope Francis spent time on the first Sunday of Advent with students from Roman universities, praying the Vespers and the Rosary with them, and offering a homily, according to an article by the Vatican Information Service.
Reflecting on a letter of St. Paul to the Thessalonians, Pope Francis told the students how St. Paul’s wish that God might sanctify him unto perfection is applicable to their lives today. St. Paul’s desire “demonstrates on the one hand his concern for his holiness, and on the other, his great confidence in the Lord's intervention,” according to the Pope.
The Pope observed that the Lord’s aid is greatly needed in our world today, where students face so many challenges and struggles. Pope Francis exhorted the students to combat challenges with “inner strength and evangelical boldness.”
…Your will and your capacities, united with the power of the Holy Spirit which lives in each one of you from the day of your Baptism, allows you to be more than mere spectators–to be active agents in contemporary events. Please, do not look upon life from the balcony, as an observer! Get involved, where there are challenges, where your help is needed to work for life, development, the fight for the dignity of persons, the struggle against poverty, the battle for values, and the many other battles we encounter every day…
If you do not allow yourselves to be conditioned by dominant opinions, but remain faithful to Christian ethical and religious principles, you will find the courage to swim against the tide. In our globalised world, you are able to contribute to safeguarding peculiarities and specific characteristics, seeking however not to lower ethical levels. Indeed,the plurality of thought and individuality reflect the multiform knowledge of God when it approaches truth with honesty and intellectual rigor, when it draws close to goodness and to beauty, so that each person can be a gift to the benefit of all.
Pope Francis suggests that the students’ lives should look different than the norm; that they should be willing to “go beyond the ordinary.”
He urged them:
The social-cultural context of which you area part is at times weighed down by mediocrity and boredom. You must not resign yourselves to the monotony of everyday life, but rather cultivate broad-ranging plans, go beyond the ordinary; do not allow yourselves to be robbed of your youthful enthusiasm!
Read about how Pope Francis called for schools and universities to be committed to catechesis and evangelization in his recent apostolic exhortation, Evangelii Gaudium.
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