The last public event of Pope Francis’ day-long visit to the Italian island of Sicily was a meeting with young people in Palermo. The youth asked the Pope some questions to which the Pope responded.
To the first question on how to listen to the voice of the Lord, the Pope’s response was in 4 verbs: walk, search, dream and serve.
Listening to God
The Pope said one listens to and discovers God while walking and not seated in an armchair, because sitting, he said, creates interference with the Word of God, which is dynamic. ‘God hates laziness and loves action,’ the Pope said and pointed to examples from the Bible such as the disciples of Emmaus, David and Samuel, who were on the move. ‘But,’ the Pope said, ‘it is not about moving to keep fit, but about moving the heart. The Lord speaks to those in search.
The Pope said that one does not search for the Lord on the mobile phone, the television, the deafening music, going high on drugs or alone in front of the mirror of your closed room.
Saying that God speaks in relationships, the Pope urged the young people not to close themselves in, but seek Him going out as He awaits them there, at the door of their hearts. He asked them to share their experiences and live the Church by making friends, meeting others, walking together.
Pope Francis urged the young people also to never stop dreaming, and dreaming big, without being afraid of cutting a poor figure. Cutting a poor figure is not the biggest drama of life. The biggest drama of life, he said, is not facing life and not giving life. It’s better to ride beautiful dreams with a few bruises than to retire into a quiet life. Better a good idealist than a lazy realist. Better a Don Quixote than a Sancho Panza!
The Pope urged the young people not to extinguish their dreams, saying having great dreams dilates the heart and allows the Lord to enter.
After walking, searching and dreaming, the Pope said, comes serving, which helps one to tune in to the Lord’s frequency. Serving and volunteering, he pointed out, gives spice to life, and helps us feel alive.
Welcome and human dignity
Talking about Sicily as a land of welcome and encounter, the Pope said faith is based on encounter, because God did not leave man alone, but came down to meet us. God wanted that we be together as a people not alone and selfish, and man’s dignity, welcome and solidarity are distinctive Christian traits.
Pope Francis spoke about getting involved and spending oneself for others, of dirtying ones hands for others. As a great Italian author wrote, ‘Life is not explained, it is lived,’ the Pope said, it applies more to Christian life of putting one’s talents and time for others.
Building the future
The Pope told the young Sicilians that they are the builders of the future which is in their hands, and they should build with their hands, their hearts, their passion, their love and their dreams together with others.
The Pope said Sicily needs genuine men and women who denounce malpractice and exploitation, who live free and liberating relationships, who love the weakest and are passionate about legality, mirroring inner honesty.