In listening to Pope Francis’ recent comments to students, I couldn’t help but think of Chesterton’s quote: “A dead thing can go with the stream, but only a living thing can go against it.”
Pope Francis urged students to find the courage to swim against the cultural tide and remain faithful to Christian principles such as protecting human dignity, according to Zenit.
In an address to students from several universities in Rome on the first Sunday of Advent in St. Peter’s basilica called on students to face the future with “inner strength and evangelical boldness.”
“The social-cultural context of which you are a part is at times weighed down by mediocrity and boredom,” he reportedly said. “You must not resign yourselves to the monotony of everyday life, but rather cultivate broad-ranging plans, go beyond the ordinary.”
The pope warned the young people that they should not allow themselves to be robbed of their enthusiasm or be tempted to surrender to a worldly spirit. “It would also be a mistake to allow yourselves to be imprisoned by the weak and uniform thought, that which conforms, or indeed by a globalisation understood as uniformity,” he said.
The Vatican Information Service reported further on the pope’s comments:
God’s intervention in favour of our efforts “until the definitive encounter with Jesus, is an expression of his fidelity. It is like a dialogue between our weakness and his fidelity. … Therefore, he brings to completion the work that he has initiated in each one of us, by his call to us. This gives us security and great trust: a trust that is … upheld by God and which requires our active and courageous collaboration, faced with the challenges of the present moment.”
“Those who do not face these challenges, who do not rise up to them, do not live. 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”.
The challenges that university students are called upon to face “with inner strength and evangelical boldness” take various forms. “The social-cultural context of which you are a 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! It would also be a mistake to allow yourselves to be imprisoned by the weak and uniform thought, that which conforms, or indeed by a globalisation understood as uniformity”.
The Pope concluded his homily by encouraging the students “to walk the path of faith and to behave in a manner consistent with the Gospel” and to “live in an authentic way the commemoration of the Nativity of the Lord.
Unfortunately, the tide is strong against young faithful Catholics, even at many Catholic colleges. Pray for the young. They need it.