Christ is alive. “Christ is alive! He is our hope, and in a wonderful way he brings youth to our world. The very first words, then, that I would like to say to every young Christian are these: Christ is alive and he wants you to be alive!”.
Thus begins the post-synodal Apostolic Exhortation, “Christus vivit ”, by Pope Francis, signed on Monday 25 March in the Holy House of Loreto and addressed to young people , and to “the entire People of God”. In the document, composed of nine chapters divided into 299 paragraphs, the Pope explains that he allowed himself to be “inspired by the wealth of reflections and conversations of the Synod” on Young People, celebrated in the Vatican in October 2018.
“Let us also keep in mind that Jesus had no use for adults who looked down on the young or lorded it over them. On the contrary, he insisted that “the greatest among you must become like the youngest” (Lk 22:26).
The Exhortation has nine (9) different chapter: Chapter one:“What does the Word of God have to say about young people?” Chapter two: “Jesus, ever young”; Chapter three: “You are the ‘now’ of God”: Chapter four: “A great message for all young people”; Chapter 5: Paths of Youth; Chapter six:“Young people with roots”; Chapter seven:“Youth ministry”; Chapter eight: “Vocation”Chapter nine: “Discernment”
Specifically on chapter three, the Pope goes on to present “migrants as an epitome of our time”, and recalls the many young people involved in migration. “The Church’s concern is focused especially on those fleeing from war, violence, political or religious persecution, from natural disasters including those caused by climate change, and from extreme poverty” (91): they search for an opportunity, a dream of a better future. Other migrants are “attracted by Western culture, sometimes with unrealistic expectations that expose them to grave disappointments. Unscrupulous traffickers, frequently linked to drug cartels or arms cartels, exploit the weakness of migrants… The particular vulnerability of migrants who are unaccompanied minors is worth noting… In some host countries, migration causes fear and alarm, often fomented and exploited for political ends. This can lead to a xenophobic mentality, as people close in on themselves, and this needs to be addressed decisively” (92). Young migrants often also experience a cultural and religious uprooting (93). Francis asks young people “not to play into the hands of those who would set them against other young people, newly arrived in their countries, and who would encourage them to view the latter as a threat” (94).
The exhortation concludes with “a wish” from Pope Francis: “Dear young people, my joyful hope is to see you keep running the race before you, outstripping all those who are slow or fearful. Keep running, “attracted by the face of Christ, whom we love so much, whom we adore in the Holy Eucharist and acknowledge in the flesh of our suffering brothers and sisters. The Church needs your momentum, your intuitions, your faith… And when you arrive where we have not yet reached, have the patience to wait for us”.
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