Restlessness for God
1. The desire for life in love and the healthy restlessness that is found in the hearts of young people form part of the great longing of all creation for the fullness of joy.
2. In each [young person], including those who do not know Christ, the Creator Spirit acts so as to lead them to beauty, goodness and truth.
3. In Jesus, all the young can see themselves, with their fears and their hopes, their uncertainties and their dreams and they can entrust themselves to him.
4. Still today the life of Jesus is profoundly attractive and inspiring; for all young people it is a provocation which challenges them.
5. Passion for seeking truth, amazement at the Lord’s beauty, the capacity to share and the joy of proclamation are still alive today in the hearts of many young people who are living members of the Church.
Maturity and Responsibility
6. Youth is a time of life which has to come to an end, to make way for adult life. This transition does not take place automatically, but it implies a journey of maturation, not always helped by the environment in which young people live.
7. In many regions, there is a widespread culture of the provisional which favours an indefinite prolongation of adolescence and postponement of decisions; fear of the definitive thus generates a kind of paralysis of decision-making.
8. We are called to invest in [the young people’s] fearlessness and to educate them to take on responsibilities, in the sure knowledge that error, failure and crisis are experiences that can strengthen their humanity.
9. In order to undertake a true journey of maturation, the young need authoritative adults.
10. When Jesus encountered the young, in whatever state and condition they might find themselves, even if they were dead, in one way or another he said to them: “Arise! Grow!” And his word brought about what he was saying.
11. [Jesus] wants nothing other than the growth of the young person, without a trace of possessiveness, manipulation or seduction.
12. The responsible participation of young people in the life of the Church is not optional, but it is a demand of baptismal life and an essential element for the life of every community.
13. Since God calls us to be friends and not servants, our choices make a real contribution to the historical unfolding of his loving plan.
14. Discernment as a dimension of the manner of life of Jesus and his disciples makes possible the concrete processes that carry us beyond uncertainty, to the point where we can assume responsibility for decisions.
15. The family continues to be the principal point of reference for young people. Children appreciate the love and care of their parents, they hold family ties dear and they hope to succeed in forming a family in their turn.
16. The family is the first faith community where, for all its limitations and incompleteness, the young person experiences God’s love and begins to discern a vocation.
17. The task of the family, as a domestic Church, is to live the joy of the Gospel in daily life and to bring all its members to do so, according to their circumstances, remaining open to the dimension of vocation and mission.
18. Grandparents often make a decisive contribution in affection and religious education: with their wisdom they are a decisive link in the relationship between generations.
19. Mothers and fathers have distinct roles but they are equally important as points of reference in forming children and passing on the faith to them.
20. The maternal figure continues to have a role that young people consider essential for their growth, even if it is not sufficiently recognized in cultural, political and employment terms.
21. Many fathers perform their own role with dedication, but we cannot conceal the fact that in some contexts, the paternal figure is absent or evanescent, and in others oppressive or authoritarian.
22. Sometimes the desire for social prestige and personal success, the ambition of parents or a tendency to determine the choices of their children leave little room for discernment and condition the decisions that are made.
23. Helping the young discover the living richness of the past, treasuring its memory and making use of it for their choices and opportunities, is a genuine act of love towards them for the sake of their growth and the choices they are called upon to make.
24. [Mary] remains the first disciple of Jesus and the model of all discipleship.
25. Freedom is the essential condition for every authentic life choice. Yet there is a risk of it being misunderstood, not least because it is often inadequately presented.
26. Freedom always entails a dimension of risk which needs to be evaluated with courage and accompanied wisely.
27. Faith is not an element added to freedom as if from outside, but it fulfils the desire of conscience for truth, goodness and beauty, rediscovering them fully in Jesus.
28. The witness of so many young martyrs, past and present, is the most convincing proof that faith makes us free in the face of the powers of this world, in the face of its injustices and even in the face of death.
29. Human freedom is scarred by wounds from personal sin and from concupiscence. But when, by experiencing forgiveness and mercy, people become aware of the obstacles that imprison them, they grow in maturity and can commit themselves with greater transparency in definitive life choices.
30. It is important to help young people not to feel discouraged in the face of errors and failures, even humiliating ones, because these form an integral part of the journey towards a more mature freedom.
31. The Christian’s vocation is to follow Christ, passing through the waters of Baptism, receiving the seal of Confirmation and becoming part of his Body through the Eucharist.
32. It is not possible to understand the significance of the baptismal vocation in its fulness unless we remember that for everyone, without exception, it is a call to holiness.
33. Vocation involves a long journey. The Word of the Lord needs time to be understood and interpreted; the mission to which it calls is revealed step by step.
34. The relation between man and woman is understood in terms of a vocation to live together in reciprocity and in dialogue, in communion and in fruitfulness in every area of human experience: life as a couple, work, education and so on. God has entrusted the earth to their covenant.
35. The young are fascinated by the adventure of gradual self-discovery. They learn willingly from the activities they carry out, from their encounters and their relationships, putting themselves to the test in daily life. Yet they need help to piece together the various experiences and to read them from a faith perspective, overcoming the risk of dispersal and recognizing the signs by which God speaks.
36. It is important to rediscover the richness of [Confirmation], to grasp its link with the personal vocation of every baptized person and with the theology of charisms, to take greater care over the way it is presented pastorally, so that it does not become a formal and insignificant moment.
37. Many young people live their professional lives within a vocational horizon. They often reject attractive work proposals that are not in line with Christian values and they make their choice of career by asking how best to bring their personal talents to bear fruit in the service of the Kingdom of God.
38. Only through listening to the Lord do we learn what part we are called to play in [salvation].
Community and Accompaniment
39. It is important to establish the conditions to allow all Christian communities, building on the baptismal consciousness of their members, to develop a genuine vocational culture and a constant commitment to pray for vocations.
40. Being present, supporting and accompanying the journey towards authentic choices is one way for the Church to exercise her maternal function, giving birth to the freedom of the children of God.
41. Accompaniment in human and Christian growth towards adult life is one of the ways in which the community demonstrates that it is capable of renewal and of renewing the world.
42. We urgently need a profound rethink of the way catechesis is presented and the link between transmission of the faith in the family and in the community, providing space for processes of personal accompaniment.
43. As well as family members, those called to exercise a role of accompaniment include all the significant persons in the various spheres of young people’s lives, such as teachers, animators, trainers and other figures of reference, including professional ones.
44. Priests, men and women religious, while they do not have a monopoly of accompaniment, have a specific task which arises from their vocation and which they must rediscover.
45. Never has there been so great a need as there is today for spiritual guides, fathers and mothers with profound experience of faith and humanity.
46. When young people are admitted to houses of formation or seminaries, it is important to establish whether they are sufficiently rooted in a community, and whether they show stability in relations of friendship with peers, in commitment to study or work, and in contact with poverty and suffering.
47. A good accompanier is a person who is balanced, a listener, a person of faith and prayer, who has the measure of his own weaknesses and frailties. When necessary he also knows how to offer a word of fraternal correction.
48. The skill required for working collaboratively involves cultivating specific relational virtues: the discipline of listening and the capacity to give the other person space, readiness to forgive and willingness to “put oneself on the line”, according to a genuine spirituality of communion.
49. The Christian tradition insists on the conscience as the privileged place for special intimacy with God and encounter with Him, where his voice is heard.
50. Forming our conscience is the work of a lifetime, in which we learn to cultivate the very sentiments of Jesus Christ, adopting the criteria behind his choices and the intentions behind his actions.
51. To reach the deepest dimension of conscience, according to the Christian vision, it is important to cultivate the interiority that thrives on periods of silence, on prayerful, listening contemplation of the Word, on the sustenance gained from the sacraments and from Church teaching.
52. We need to develop the habit of doing good, which we review in our examination of conscience: an exercise which is not just about identifying sins, but includes recognizing God’s work in our daily lives, in the events of our history and our cultures, in the witness of so many other men and women who went before us or who accompany us with their wisdom.
53. The sacrament of reconciliation plays an essential part in helping us move forward in the life of faith, marked as it is not only by limits and frailties, but also by sin.
54. The Eucharist is the living memorial of the paschal event, a privileged place of evangelization and transmission of the faith for the sake of mission.
55. The Church must truly allow herself to take on the form of the Eucharist, which she celebrates as the source and summit of her life – the form of a loaf made up of many grains and broken for the life of the world.