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Pope tells young people not to be couch potatoes

A video, recorded on a smartphone, offers words of encouragement to young people in Thailand who are gathered for a prayer vigil.

By Linda Bordoni

“Don't spend your life sitting on a couch! Live your life, build your life, do it, keep moving forward!"

Those are Pope Francis’s first words to young people after his arrival in Bangkok. Stopping briefly in the atrium of the Nunciature where he will be staying during his visit to Thailand, the Pope sent a message to a group of young people gathered for a prayer vigil on Wednesday night.

Speaking in Spanish, the Pope said he knows about the prayer vigil and that many other young people are on their way to Bangkok to participate in a Mass on Friday.

"To pray and to journey", he said, are both beautiful things to do.

The Pope urged the youg people to keep their hearts open to God who gives us the strength to carry on journeying because, he said, “in life one can never stand still”.

“A young person cannot retire at the age of twenty! He or she must keep walking. He or she must always keep moving forward, always going uphill, “he said.

In his improvised message, the Pope also encouraged those who may fall to have the strength to get up and carry on.

Below is the complete translation of the Pope's remarks:

Dear Young Friends,

I know that this evening you are keeping a vigil of prayer, you are praying.  And I know that others are still on their way, journeying here.  How beautiful these two things are: to pray and to journey!

There are two things that we have to do in life.  We have to keep our hearts open to God, since we receive our strength from him, and we have to keep journeying, because in life one can never stand still.  A young person cannot retire at the age of twenty!  He or she must keep walking. He or she must always keep moving forward, always going uphill.

One of you can say to me: “Yes, Father, but sometimes I am weak and I fall”.  That doesn’t make any difference!  There is an old Alpine song that says: “In the art of climbing, the important thing is not to keep from falling, but never to remain down on the ground”.

I offer you these two pieces of advice.  Never stay down, immediately get up; let someone help you to get up.  That’s the first thing.  The second thing is: Don’t spend your life sitting on a couch! Live your life, build your life, do it, keep moving forward!  Keep advancing on the journey, get involved and you find extraordinary happiness.  I can assure of you of that.

May God bless you.  I am praying for you; please pray for me.

20 November 2019, 17:45