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Pope’s message for WYD: ‘Young people must go in haste to others, just like Mary’

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Pope Francis released his third message for the 37th World Youth Day on Monday. In this final message of a trilogy, the Holy Father recalls the theme of the last WYD, held in 2019 in Panama: “I am the servant of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word” (Lk 1:38). 

“After that event, we resumed our journey towards a new destination – Lisbon 2023 – with hearts afire with God’s urgent summons to arise,” noted the pope.

Over the last few years, in each message, we have reflected on numerous themes, with, in common, the word “arise.” “It is a word”, stressed the pope, “that also speaks to us of getting up from our slumber, waking up to the life all around us.”

The pope noted that in these troubling times of pandemic and war “Mary shows to all of us, and especially you, young people like herself, the path of proximity and encounter.”

The Holy Father then expressed his hope that the experience many young people will have in Lisbon for WYD in August 2023 will “represent a new beginning for you” and for humanity as a whole.

WYD 2023, to be held in Lisbon, was postponed by a year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Pope Francis went on to note that, after the Annunciation, Mary could have focused on herself, but that “instead, she entrusted herself completely to God.” She arises and sets out, for she is certain that God’s plan is the best plan for her life, stressed the pope. “Mary,” Pope Francis continued, “becomes a temple of God, an image of the pilgrim Church, a Church that goes forth for service, a Church that brings the good news to all!”

In the accounts of the resurrection, we often encounter two words: “awake” and “arise,” noted the pope. 

Pope Francis went on to note that, in his commentary on the Gospel of Luke, St. Ambrose of Milan wrote that Mary set out in haste towards the hills, “because she rejoiced in the promise and sought to serve others with the enthusiasm born of her joy.” Mary’s haste is thus a sign of her desire to serve, explained the pope.

When faced with concrete and urgent needs, we need to act quickly, stressed the pope, asking, “what kinds of ‘haste’ do you have, dear young people?”

The pope went on to note that there is a difference between a healthy haste, which drives us upwards “and towards others” and an unhealthy haste “which can drive us to live superficially and take everything lightly.”

Nearing the end of his message, the pope reminded young people around the world that “now is the time to set out in haste towards concrete encounters, towards genuine acceptance of those different from ourselves.”

“My message for you, dear young people, the great message entrusted to the Church, is Jesus! Yes, Jesus Himself, in His infinite love for each of us, His salvation and the new life He has bestowed upon us.”

Finally, Pope Francis expressed his hope that the young people planning to attend WYD may be able to “experience anew the joy of encountering God and our brothers and sisters.”

“After a long period of social distancing and isolation, we will all rediscover in Lisbon – with God’s help – the joy of a fraternal embrace between peoples and generations, an embrace of reconciliation and peace, an embrace of new missionary fraternity!”

Like Mary, concluded the pope, “let us ‘arise and go in haste.’”

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