Pope Francis had a meeting with young people at the “Agios Dionysios” primary school of the French Hellenic Ursuline school, in Maroussi, the last stop before his departure for Rome.
The Pope of the Poor, on his third and last day in Athens, was very well received by the children of “Agios Dionysios”, who also held Greek flags.
Let us be open to the surprises of God, such is the motto chosen by this particular school.
At the start, Fr. Petros Stefanou, Bishop of Syros, Thira and Apostolic Vicar of Crete, responsible for youth ministry throughout Greece, addressed a greeting. “Our young people are looking for Christ, who gives life to everything he touches. Holy Father, the young Catholics of Greece thank you for this meeting and await your speech which will stimulate their enthusiasm, revive their hope, because it will help them to constantly discover in their daily life the beauty of being friends of Christ and living members of his Church, ”noted, among others, His Eminence.
Then, young people from Syros Island danced a ball, a traditional Cycladic dance.
Testimonials from young girls followed, from Katerina and Ioanna, to the Bishop and Pope of Rome, then the Pope spoke, which appeared to be widely read in terms of the state and philosophy of ancient Greece. It refers to “Know thyself”, one of the three orders engraved in the temple of Apollo at Delphi, and explains what it means, in the myth of Odysseus with the sirens, to draw a parallel with the mermaids of today, in which, as he pointed out, “it is not easy to resist”, and stressed that we must train our hearts to overcome obstacles and, of course, to be next of the person. “Don’t be Christians on the couch,” he stressed. “Find the courage to go take risks, but not alone, but with everyone.” Shortly before concluding, he quoted a sentence from the Secretariat of Ancient Greece. “A friend is another me.”
In addition, he underlined to the Ursulines: “I am very happy to meet you when my visit to Greece comes to an end and I take this opportunity to express once again my gratitude for the welcome, but also all the work that has been done. made to prepare for my visit … Thank you.
I was surprised and impressed by your testimony. I had read them and now with you I would like to refer to a few points of them. Katerina, you have told us about the problems you have had with your faith and I would like to tell you and all of you that we are not afraid of doubt. Doubt is not a loss of faith. Don’t be afraid of doubt. Doubts, on the other hand, are the vitamin of faith. They help to strengthen it, in awareness, in consciousness, in its development to finally become more mature, they help us cross the path to maturity. This path with Jesus, who takes us by the hand, encourages us and when we fall helps us to get up, he is not afraid when. It’s a love story, in which we always move forward together, day after day. In this love story there are moments that you have to ask yourself and that’s good, it’s good because it strengthens and strengthens this relationship. And this is extremely important, it is important to you. You cannot be blind when in this path of your faith you absolutely must question yourself. I would like to emphasize the following in Katerina’s testimony: Sometimes, when faced with the difficulties of life, moments of frustration, loneliness, doubt can flood our hearts.
Dear friends, this is a temptation which you must reject. The devil puts this doubt in our hearts to push us into grief. What do you do in this case when you are suffocated by doubt, which does not allow you to calm down? When it lowers our confidence and we don’t know where to start? We must find the starting point. What is this starting point? To understand it, you have to listen, listen to classical culture. Do you know what was the starting point of philosophy but also of culture, science, art?
It all started with a spark, the discovery brought about by an amazing word: surprise. This is exactly how philosophy began, from surprise at miracles at the harmony of creation and the mystery of life. Surprise, however, is not only the starting point of philosophy, but also of our own faith. Many times the Gospel tells us that when we meet Jesus, we felt this surprise, this feeling of surprise. At each encounter with God, we feel this surprise. This is so, it is so, because our faith is not just a set of beliefs, of duties that we must fulfill. Faith, the heart of faith is a reality, a wonderful, beautiful reality which does not depend on us and which leaves us speechless. We are the beloved children of God. It is the heart of faith. We are children of God, children whom God loves. We have a father who watches over us and never ceases to love us.
God never tires of loving. Can anyone ask me if I have slipped into the worst, the worst deeds, will God still love me? Do I still love God if I commit sins or use drugs? Yes, God still loves, God can only love us.
In any case, God loves you. Faith is a wonderful thing, God never regrets us.
If we stand in front of the mirror, we won’t see what we would like because we risk focusing on what we don’t like. But if we stand before God, then of course the perspective changes, we can only be surprised, that we exist for him despite our weaknesses, our sins, we are still beloved children of God.
So instead of starting in front of the mirror, why not just open our bedroom window and stay in the beauty of creation, in the beauty, in the beauty that we see? If our eyes see this beauty of creation, the eyes of God each of us is more beautiful. According to the scriptures, he created miracles through us, wonderful miracles. Each of us is a miracle to God. But we must let the gaze of God fall on him.
There is another surprise that shouldn’t escape us. The surprise of forgiveness and here I want to be absolutely clear: God always forgives, God always forgives, we are sometimes skeptical and hesitant to ask for forgiveness.