“Today is Children’s Day in Romania – let’s greet them with a round of applause.” Those were the Pope’s words to young people and families on Saturday who had gathered for a Marian encounter with him against the backdrop of the Palace of Culture.
He invited everyone present to pray for all children “asking the Blessed Virgin to shelter them under her mantle.”
The Pope told the children, young people, families and elderly in the Square in Iasi, who had come from different traditions and places, that “the Holy Spirit has called us here and He helps us discover the beauty of being together, of being able to meet and journey together.” “This is the experience of a new Pentecost”, he said.
Dreams and wisdom of older generation
Journeying together, Pope Francis pointed out, is not easy. He added, “it is a gift that we have to ask for. A work of art for us to create, a beautiful gift for us to hand on.”
Recalling the testimony of Elisabeta and Ioan, an elderly couple participating at the Marian event, he told them that, “love took root in the two of you and it has borne rich fruit. Both of you were not afraid to dream”, the Pope said.
Pope Francis also told the younger generation present that, “when you grow up, do not forget your mother and your grandmother, and the simple but robust faith that gave them strength.”
Love and faith
Faith, he emphasized, “is a gift that keeps alive a profound and beautiful certainty: that we are God’s beloved children… Faith is not transmitted only by words, but also by gestures, looks and caresses, like those of our mothers and grandmothers.”
“We all flourish when we feel loved”, said the Pope. “Because love draws us out of ourselves and invites us to take root in the lives of others.” “When people lose all their love, then it will truly be the end of the world. Because without love and without God, no one can live on the earth!”
Challenges, vocation and freedom
There will always be challenges in our lives, noted Pope Francis. “We cannot deny it or pretend that it isn’t the case”. “The Lord is the first to challenge us. The Lord is the one who gives us a song more powerful than all the siren songs that would paralyze us on our journey. And He always does it the same way: by singing a more beautiful and challenging song.”
The Pope also told those gathered that, “the Lord gives us a vocation, a challenge to discover the talents and abilities we possess and to put them at the service of others.” “He asks us to use our freedom as a freedom to choose, to say yes to a loving plan, to a face, to a look.”
“Today, from this place, new paths can open up to the future, towards Europe and many other parts of the world”, said the Pope. “You can be pilgrims of the twenty-first century, capable of imagining afresh the bonds that unite us.”
In conclusion, Pope said that “Mary is a Mother who encourages her children’s dreams, who cherishes their hopes, who brings joy to their homes…You are that living, flourishing and hope-filled community that we can offer to our Mother.”