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Pope Francis Talks to Teens about True Friendship, True Freedom, and True Love

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Diane Montagna - published on 04/24/16

Share the pope’s homily with your friends! (Full Text)

VATICAN CITY — Jesus is waiting for your “yes” to true friendship, true freedom and true love, and he wants to share with you the secret to growing in all three, Pope Francis told thousands of teens gathered in St. Peter’s Square on Sunday for Holy Mass, on the Jubilee day for Boys and Girls.

Here are some of the pope’s best quotes:

On True Friendship

“The Lord is a friend forever. Even if you disappoint him and walk away from him, Jesus continues to want the best for you and to remain close to you; he believes in you even more than you believe in yourself.”

On True Freedom

“Many people will say to you that freedom means doing whatever you want. But here you have to be able to say no. If you do not know how to say ‘no’, you are not free. The person who is free is he or she who is able to say ‘yes’ and who knows how to say ‘no’. Freedom is not the ability simply to do what I want. This makes us self-centered and aloof, and it prevents us from being open and sincere friends; it is not true to say ‘it is good enough if it serves me’. No, this is not true. Instead, freedom is the gift of being able to choose the good: this is true freedom.”

On True Love

“Dear young friends, at this stage in your lives you have a growing desire to demonstrate and receive affection. The Lord, if you let him teach you, will show you how to make tenderness and affection even more beautiful. He will guide your hearts to “love without being possessive”, to love others without trying to own them but letting them be free. Because love is free! There is no true love that is not free! […] How can we grow in love? The secret, once again, is the Lord: Jesus gives us himself in the Mass, he offers us forgiveness and peace in Confession. There we learn to receive his love, to make it ours and to give it to the world.”

Here below is the official English text of the Pope’s homily, to read and share with your friends.

“By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (Jn 13:35).

Dear young friends, what an enormous responsibility the Lord gives us today! He tells us that the world will recognize the disciples of Jesus by the way they love one another. Love, in other words, is the Christian’s identity card, the only valid “document” identifying us as Christians. It is the only valid document. If this card expires and is not constantly renewed, we stop being witnesses of the Master. So I ask you: Do you wish to say yes to Jesus’ invitation to be his disciples? Do you wish to be his faithful friends? The true friends of Jesus stand out essentially by the genuine love; not some “pie in the sky” love; no, it is a genuine love that shines forth in their way of life. Love is always shown in real actions. Those who are not real and genuine and who speak of love are like characters is a soap opera, some fake love story. Do you want to experience his love? Do you want this love: yes or no? Let us learn from him, for his words are a school of life, a school where we learn to love. This is a task which we must engage in every day: to learn how to love.

Before all else, love is beautiful, it is the path to happiness. But it is not an easy path. It is demanding and it requires effort. Think, for example, of when we receive a gift. It makes us happy, but receiving a gift means that someone generous has invested time and effort; by their gift they also give us a bit of themselves, a sacrifice they have made. Think too of the gift that your parents and group leaders have given you in allowing you to come to Rome for this Jubilee day dedicated to you. They planned, organized, and prepared everything for you, and this made them happy, even if it meant that they had to give up a trip for themselves. This is putting love into action. To love means to give, not only something material, but also something of one’s self: one’s own time, one’s friendship, one’s own abilities.

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