By Seàn-Patrick Lovett
Three lives. Three stories. Three testimonies to faith, hope and love. These were the inspirations behind Pope Francis’ reflections to the 600,000 young people gathered for the World Youth Day Vigil in Metro Park, outside Panama City, on Saturday night.
Life stories, and love stories. “The Lord is the first to say ‘yes’”, said the Pope. “And He wants us to say ‘yes’ along with Him”, as He invites us “to be part of a love story”. Pope Francis presented Mary as the supreme example of how to say ‘yes’ and to “trust in the love and promises of God”. It is this, he said, that makes Mary, “the ‘influencer’ of God”.
“Yes” to embracing life
“Mary’s ‘yes’ echoes and expands in every generation”, continued Pope Francis. And here he thanked a young couple for their witness in facing the “difficulties and risks” associated with the birth of their daughter after she was diagnosed with Down Syndrome. “Saying ‘yes’ to the Lord means embracing life as it comes”, said the Pope, “with all its fragility”. “It is through our frailties and flaws that the Lord wants to write our love story”, he said. “What a gift it is to know we have a Father who embraces us despite our imperfections”.
“Yes” to building community
Pope Francis then thanked the young man who shared his story of how he dealt with drug addiction. The Pope spoke of how impossible it is for us to grow “unless we have strong roots to support us”: the roots of
“Yes” to being guardians
To be an “influencer” in the 21st Century, said Pope Francis, “is to be guardians of roots”, of everything that makes us “feel part of one another”, that makes us “feel we belong”. This was the experience of the third testimony referenced by the Pope: that of a young woman from Palestine who discovered the faith two years ago at WYD in Krakow. “She found a lively, happy community that welcomed her and gave her a sense of belonging”, said Pope Francis, allowing her “to live the joy that comes from being found by Jesus”.
Willingness to say “Yes”
“Are you willing to say ‘yes’?”, challenged the Pope. “Are you willing to be an ‘influencer’ like Mary?”, he asked. “Only love makes us more human and fulfilled”, he concluded.
So do not be afraid to tell Jesus you want to be “part of His love story in this world”.