Seoul - 17 July 2019
I am very happy to be with you this day, because as you know one of the Universal Apostolic Preferences for the Society of Jesus today is precisely to “accompany young people in the creation of a hope-filled future”.
Not only are you young people, but you are young people who have the capacity to also accompany other young people, not just to be with them, but to be strong messengers of hope.
My predecessor, Father Adolfo Nicolás, wrote in 2011 that young people “know that they will not remain young forever. That is why they seem to be in a hurry to make the most of their youth. We have to understand this and cooperate with them in this adventure. It is important that we contribute to a very important period of possibilities and of creativity.” Truly, this is an important period of life, when many important decisions are made – about career, about values, about relationships. This is why it is important to be with the young – “so that they do not exchange enthusiasm for cynicism but put all they have at the service of goals and dreams worthy of the dedication of their lives and their hearts.”
The danger of cynicism is real, in a world of much violence, addiction and loneliness, environmental destruction, prejudice, fundamentalism, and secularism, individualism. In November 2018, Pope Francis said:
“There are many young people, both believers and nonbelievers, who when they come to the end of a stage in their studies, feel a desire to do something for those who are suffering. This is a strength in young people, a strength that all of you possess. It is a strength that can change the world. It is a revolution that can overturn the powerful forces at work in our world. It is the ‘revolution’ of service.”
In this revolution, the Holy Father invites all young people to take courage, to enter into dialogue with God, and allow God to answer. “Then,” he said, “you will see how your life is transformed and filled with joy.”
I ask for your help so that we can work together for all the Universal Apostolic Preferences. We need to open our hearts even more to prayer. We need to learn to walk with those who have been excluded in today’s world, to be with and listen to those who have been marginalized. We need to find ways to protect and renew our common home, the Earth.
We, Jesuits, know that we cannot do this by ourselves, and that we, you and us, need to enter into discernment in common, to listen once again to the Spirit, and then work together for real and long-lasting transformation. Let us take up the challenge to move out of those places of security and safety – our houses, circles of friends, fixed plans, those countless applications in our smartphones, which make things easier, but also organize very much our lives. Thank you once again for this opportunity to be with you. I pray especially for you, for the strength to be daring once more, and hopeful, not for ourselves, but for the world.