I would also like to offer you yet a third invitation: accept the challenge of making decisions in life. You know from everyday experience there is no such thing as a life without challenges. Just as when you come to a fork in the road you have to choose, so, when faced with a challenge, you always have to put yourself on the line, take risks and make a decision. This requires good planning. You cannot improvise, living by instinct or always acting on the spur of the moment! So how do you prepare, how do you develop your decision-making ability, your creativity, your courage and your tenacity? How do you sharpen your inner gaze, learn to judge situations, and grasp what is important? It requires learning how to weigh your options and take the right direction. Pope Francis | MEETING WITH THE YOUTH | November 5, 2022
This is why the third invitation is to make decisions in life, right decisions.
All of this came to mind as I thought back to Merina’s questions. They were really about the need to understand what direction to take in life. She is brave, for the way she said things!I can speak from my own experience: I too was an adolescent like yourselves, like everyone else, and my life was that of a normal young person. As we know, adolescence is a process, that period in our growth when we begin to face the complexity of life and confront certain challenges for the first time. Well, my advice is to press forward without fear, but never go it alone! Two things: press forward without fear and never alone! God never leaves you alone; he waits for you to ask him to give you a hand. He accompanies and guides us, not by powerful signs and miracles, but by speaking gently through our thoughts and feelings; and also through our teachers, friends, parents and everyone who wants to help us.
It is important, then, to learn how to distinguish his voice, God’s voice that speaks to us. And how do we learn to do this? As you told us, Merina: through silent prayer and intimate dialogue with him, treasuring in our hearts what helps us and gives us peace. God’s light illumines the maze of thoughts, emotions and feelings in which we often find ourselves. The Lord wants to enlighten your understanding, your innermost thoughts, the aspirations in your heart, and the judgements that are taking shape within you. He wants to help you distinguish what is essential from what is superfluous, what is good from what is harmful to you and to others, what is just from what leads to injustice and disorder.
Nothing we experience is foreign to God, nothing.
Often we are the ones who turn away from him; we fail to turn people and situations over to him, and instead turn in on ourselves in fear and shame. Let us cultivate in prayer the consoling certainty that the Lord watches over us, that he does not grow tired, but constantly watches out for us and keeps us safe.
Dear young friends, making decisions is not something we do alone. So let me say one last thing to you. Before you go to the Internet for advice, always seek out good counselors in life, wise and reliable people who can guide and help you. Do this first. I am thinking of parents and teachers, but also of the elderly, your grandparents, and a good spiritual guide. Each of us needs to be accompanied on the road of life! I will say again what I told you: never alone!
We need to be accompanied on the road of life.
Dear young people, we need you. We need your creativity, your dreams and your courage, your charm and your smiles, your contagious joy and that touch of craziness that you can bring to every situation, which helps to break us out of our stale habits and ways of looking at things. As Pope, I want to tell you: the Church is with you and needs each one of you very much, so that we can be renewed, explore new paths, experiment with new languages, and become more joyful and hospitable. Never lose the courage to dream big and to live life to the full! Adopt the culture of care and spread it. Become champions of fraternity. Face life’s challenges by letting yourselves be guided by God’s faithful creativity and by good counsellors. And lastly, remember me in your prayers. I will do the same for you, carrying you in my heart. Thank you!
God be with you! Allah ma’akum!