Members of the Swiss Student Association in an audience with Pope Francis Members of the Swiss Student Association in an audience with Pope Francis 

Pope to Swiss students: 'Education should always seek the truth'

Pope Francis meets with a student association of Switzerland marking the 75th anniversary of the canonization of St. Nicholas of Flüe, the Patron of Switzerland and of their Association, and urges participants to always employ education to seek the truth.

By Sophie Peeters

Addressing participants of the largest student association in Switzerland on Monday, Pope Francis offered words of encouragement to the group, saying the makeup of different generations and backgrounds of the students in the association is “very positive” as it is a crucial point of dialogue between generations.

The right to study, the Pope continued, should not be “taken for granted”, as there are numerous people around the world, especially women, who do not have the access to education.

“Let us thank God that we have been able to study and that we have been able to do so freely,” Pope Francis remarked.

A student as a pilgrim

In his address, Pope Francis said there is a beautiful analogy between being a student and a pilgrim, as both are on a “journey” – although studying specific subjects have definite objectives, the study as a “human attitude” can always be cultivated without due course to an end.

Being a student, the Pope added, means having the desire to learn as a path, to have the “spirit of the disciple, always, at every age.”

Education to learn the love of God

Education, the Pope reflected, is a way to accompany someone into a new being, opening us “to the fullness of life in communion with God” and with others.

“Jesus Christ is the greatest educator in history: by the love of the Father and the action of the Holy Spirit, He brings us into being ‘from above,’ as He told Nicodemus (cf. Jn. 3:3). He frees us from the bondage of the self and opens us to the fullness of life in communion with God, with others, with creatures, and even with ourselves.”

Quoting Fr. Romano Guardini, a German priest and philosopher, Pope Francis said education is a tool to “serve, help, liberate” the meaning of the “mystery of birth”, being liberated with the full knowledge of the love of Jesus Christ.

Quest for truth

At the conclusion of his speech, Pope Francis offered a challenge to the students, asking them to reflect on who they are as “students of the Word of God.”

Do they, as people on this quest for truth, seek God and are they “eager to listen to Him, to ask Him questions, and to meditate on His words and deeds?” the Pope asked.

Finally, Pope Francis concluded by saying that only Jesus can give us life in abundance by offering us the “words of eternal life; a Father who knows us better than ourselves.”

Pope Francis urged Swiss students to ask for the intercession of St. Nicholas of Flüe, so that their association may “always be passionate seekers of the true, the good, and the beautiful.”

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12 September 2022, 11:55