By Francesca Merlo
Pope Francis’ last event in Košice was a meeting with young people in the city’s Lokomotiva Stadium, where Blessed Anna Kolesarova was beatified in 2018.
Pope Francis began his address by answering three questions he was asked by some of the young people present. "I would like to try to come up with some answers to them," said the Pope.
Answering Peter and Zuzka’s question about love between two people, the Pope noted that “like all great things in life, love is magnificent, but not easy.” "It is our greatest dream," he said, though it is “not easy to explain”. He said that the right approach is to look with “new eyes”, eyes that are not taken in by appearances and that do not trivialize love. “Because love is not simply an emotion or feeling…it is fidelity, gift and responsibility”, said the Pope.
“We were not put here just to make do, but to make something of our lives”, said the Pope. He urged the young people to be heroic and to “dream fearlessly”. “Please, don’t let your lives just pass by”, added the Pope.
Pope Francis then told the young people gathered in the Lokomotiva Stadium that he wanted to give them another bit of advice. “For love to be fruitful, don’t forget your roots,” he said. “Today, there is a danger of growing up rootless, because we feel we always have to be on the go, to do everything in a hurry”. Instead, he explained, we must always be open to others.
"Today, there are so many disruptive forces, so many people ready to blame everyone and everything, spreaders of negativity, professional complainers", the Pope said. "Pay no attention to them, for pessimism and complaining are not Christian".
Then, answering Petra’s question on how young people can overcome obstacles on the path to God’s mercy, the Pope said that this too is “a matter of how we see things and of looking to what really matters”.
He wonders "if I were to ask all of you what you think about when you go to Confession", stating that he is "quite sure your answer will be 'our sins'”. But sins are not really the centre of Confession, he said. Our Father, who forgives everything, is at the centre. "We do not go to Confession to be punished and humiliated, but as children who run toward the Father’s loving arms", said the Pope.
"I will give you a little piece of advice", said the Pope: "after each Confession, sit still for a few moments in order to remember the forgiveness you received".
Embracing the cross
Finally, Pope Francis addressed Peter and Lenka, who asked how young people can be encouraged not to be afraid to embrace the Cross. "Embracing helps us overcome fear", said the Pope. "Whenever someone embraces us, we regain confidence in ourselves and in life. So let us allow ourselves to be embraced by Jesus. Embracing the Cross with Jesus brings the joy of Jesus", said the Pope - "the same joy", he concluded, "that I want for you".