Pope in Poland

by Moira Cullings
moira.cullings@theleaven.org

I could almost hear the shouts of the millions of pilgrims swarming to see the pope at this summer’s World Youth Day.

Photos were coming in from our reporter and photographer in Poland, and it truly felt like I was walking their journey with them (without having to budge from my desk).

That feeling intensified once we received a pile of quotes from Pope Francis’ various talks.

Although he had all kinds of messages for the young Catholics who had traveled far and wide to see him in person, one theme particularly stood out to me, and that was the idea that we must gather the courage to live lives of purposeful action.

Here are some of the ideas I believe Pope Francis was telling the faithful of my generation, in particular.

1. God has high standards for us and wants us to break out of our comfort zones so we can grow.

“My friends, Jesus is the Lord of risk, of the eternal ‘more.’ Jesus is not the Lord of comfort, security and ease. Following Jesus demands a good dose of courage, a readiness to trade in the sofa for a pair of walking shoes and to set out on new and uncharted paths.”

— Pope Francis’ remarks during prayer vigil for World Youth Day

2. We have the opportunity in our lives to change the world, but we can’t make an impact unless we always strive to reach our full potential.

“God expects something from you. God wants something from you. God hopes in you. God comes to break down all our fences. . . . He is encouraging you to dream. He wants to make you see that, with you, the world can be different. For the fact is, unless you offer the best of yourselves, the world will never be different.”

— Pope Francis’ remarks during the prayer vigil for World Youth Day

3. We will never be truly happy unless we accept the fact that God doesn’t care about what we own but who we are.

“God counts on you for what you are, not for what you possess. In His eyes the clothes you wear or the kind of cell phone you use are of absolutely no concern. He doesn’t care whether you are stylish or not; he cares about you, just as you are! In his eyes, you are precious, and your value is inestimable.”

— Pope Francis’ homily during the closing Mass of World Youth Day

Click here for a list of our World Youth Day 2016 stories and photographs.

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