Renew the world with creativity, bold dreams, Pope tells young people

January 18, 2024 at 9:38 a.m.
Pope Francis meets with a group of young professionals attending a meeting promoted by the Toniolo Young Professional Association during an audience at the Vatican Jan. 12, 2024. (CNS photo/Vatican Media)
Pope Francis meets with a group of young professionals attending a meeting promoted by the Toniolo Young Professional Association during an audience at the Vatican Jan. 12, 2024. (CNS photo/Vatican Media) (Vatican Media)

By CAROL GLATZ
Osv News

VATICAN CITY – Young people are meant to be "levers" that renew established systems, not "gears" to keep the old ways grinding, Pope Francis told a group of young professionals.

"We all need the creativity and impetus that only you young people can give us; creativity and impetus lie in your hands. Your thirst for truth, your cry for peace, your insight into the future, your hopeful smiles – we need these things!" he said.  

Dream big, pursue a passion, be creative and get your hands dirty without fear, he told the group during an audience at the Vatican Jan. 12. The group included young people taking part in a meeting promoted by the Toniolo Young Professional Association.

The Pope said he worries when he hears about young people "barricaded behind a screen, their eyes reflecting artificial light instead of letting their creativity shine."

"Being young is not thinking about holding the world in your hands but getting your hands dirty for the world; it is having a life in front of you to spend, not to stow away or archive," he said.

"It is sad to see young people being sluggish and anesthetized, lying on the couch instead of engaged in their schools and streets, bent over their screens instead of a book or a brother or sister in need," he said.

It is also sad, he said, to see young professionals who "are professional on the outside and lifeless on the inside, who, 'squeezed dry' from their duties, take refuge in the pursuit of pleasure."

The Pope told those gathered for the audience that their passion and commitment are "antidotes" to today's prevalent ways of thinking that are reactive, shallow and shortsighted.

He encouraged them to avoid the temptation to adapt to temporal, fleeting things, but rather to cultivate "a lofty gaze that seeks the stars, not the dust."

So many young people seem "squeezed dry," he said, by having to perform at an increasingly demanding level, draining them of their "restless dreams" and passions.

The world needs the creativity, hopes, insights and drive of young people, he said.

They should take these things everywhere they go and "put yourselves out there without fear because young people are the levers that renew systems, not the cogs that must keep them going," he said.

Being creative also means creating something with "the same style with which God made the world, the style of gratuitousness, which surpasses the logic of 'I do in order to have' and 'I work in order to earn,'" he said.

He said being creative opens the way for innovation or change "in a world that is content with profits. This is how you will be revolutionary. Life asks to be given, not managed."

Daring initiatives and bold vision as well as renewal and creativity are needed everywhere: in diplomacy, the economy, the fight against hunger, climate change, communication, the world of work and elsewhere, the Pope said.

"I entrust you with these dreams as an elderly man who is thrilled to see your young faces; and I think of how much more thrilled Jesus is to look at you, he who always has a young heart and has called young people to follow him," he said.

The association, founded in 2016, is part of the Giuseppe Toniolo Institute of Higher Studies and connects its university fellowship program with offices of the Roman Curia and Vatican diplomats participating in various international and intergovernmental organizations.


Pope Francis meets Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox students studying at Catholic universities in Rome and officials of the Dicastery for Promoting Christian Unity during an audience at the Vatican Jan. 12, 2024. The students came to Rome as part of a project sponsored by the Catholic Committee for Cultural Collaboration, which was established 60 years ago. CNS photo/Vatican Media

 

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VATICAN CITY – Young people are meant to be "levers" that renew established systems, not "gears" to keep the old ways grinding, Pope Francis told a group of young professionals.

"We all need the creativity and impetus that only you young people can give us; creativity and impetus lie in your hands. Your thirst for truth, your cry for peace, your insight into the future, your hopeful smiles – we need these things!" he said.  

Dream big, pursue a passion, be creative and get your hands dirty without fear, he told the group during an audience at the Vatican Jan. 12. The group included young people taking part in a meeting promoted by the Toniolo Young Professional Association.

The Pope said he worries when he hears about young people "barricaded behind a screen, their eyes reflecting artificial light instead of letting their creativity shine."

"Being young is not thinking about holding the world in your hands but getting your hands dirty for the world; it is having a life in front of you to spend, not to stow away or archive," he said.

"It is sad to see young people being sluggish and anesthetized, lying on the couch instead of engaged in their schools and streets, bent over their screens instead of a book or a brother or sister in need," he said.

It is also sad, he said, to see young professionals who "are professional on the outside and lifeless on the inside, who, 'squeezed dry' from their duties, take refuge in the pursuit of pleasure."

The Pope told those gathered for the audience that their passion and commitment are "antidotes" to today's prevalent ways of thinking that are reactive, shallow and shortsighted.

He encouraged them to avoid the temptation to adapt to temporal, fleeting things, but rather to cultivate "a lofty gaze that seeks the stars, not the dust."

So many young people seem "squeezed dry," he said, by having to perform at an increasingly demanding level, draining them of their "restless dreams" and passions.

The world needs the creativity, hopes, insights and drive of young people, he said.

They should take these things everywhere they go and "put yourselves out there without fear because young people are the levers that renew systems, not the cogs that must keep them going," he said.

Being creative also means creating something with "the same style with which God made the world, the style of gratuitousness, which surpasses the logic of 'I do in order to have' and 'I work in order to earn,'" he said.

He said being creative opens the way for innovation or change "in a world that is content with profits. This is how you will be revolutionary. Life asks to be given, not managed."

Daring initiatives and bold vision as well as renewal and creativity are needed everywhere: in diplomacy, the economy, the fight against hunger, climate change, communication, the world of work and elsewhere, the Pope said.

"I entrust you with these dreams as an elderly man who is thrilled to see your young faces; and I think of how much more thrilled Jesus is to look at you, he who always has a young heart and has called young people to follow him," he said.

The association, founded in 2016, is part of the Giuseppe Toniolo Institute of Higher Studies and connects its university fellowship program with offices of the Roman Curia and Vatican diplomats participating in various international and intergovernmental organizations.


Pope Francis meets Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox students studying at Catholic universities in Rome and officials of the Dicastery for Promoting Christian Unity during an audience at the Vatican Jan. 12, 2024. The students came to Rome as part of a project sponsored by the Catholic Committee for Cultural Collaboration, which was established 60 years ago. CNS photo/Vatican Media

 

The Church needs quality Catholic journalism now more than ever. Please consider supporting this work by signing up for a SUBSCRIPTION (click HERE) or making a DONATION to The Monitor (click HERE). Thank you for your support.

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