(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has sent a message to young people from the ecumenical community of Taizé who are participating in a European Meeting of Young Adults taking place in Riga, Latvia, from 28 December to 1 January. It is the first time a European Meeting is taking place in a Baltic State.
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The Holy Father’s letter to the young people dwelt especially on the virtue of hope. “The Pope is particularly close to you,” it said, “because he has often called you to not let anyone rob you of your hope.”
Pope Francis thanked them for leaving their “comfortable homes” to take part in the meeting in Riga. Their participation, he said, shows that they desire to be “protagonists of history,” and that they desire to not let others determine their future. He encouraged them “to stand firm in hope by letting the Lord live in your hearts and your daily lives,” saying, “with Jesus, the faithful friend who never disappoints, you will be able to walk along the path toward the future with joy, and devote your talents and abilities to the good of all.”
Precisely because so many people feel discouraged by violence and suffering, and believe that evil is “stronger than anything,” Pope Francis invited the young people “to show in your words and deeds that evil is not the last word in our history.”
Pope Francis expressed his hope that the meeting in Riga would help young people to not be afraid of their limits, but “to grow in trust in Jesus, who believes and hopes in you.” Invoking the simplicity of Brother Roger, the founder of the Taize community, he prayed that the young people might “build bridges of friendship and make visible the love with which God loves us."
Below, please find the full text of Pope Francis’ letter to the young people of the Taize community who are meeting in Riga:
Dear young people,
Coming from every part of Europe, and from a number of other continents, several thousand of you have gathered in Riga, Latvia, for the 39th meeting organized and led by the Taizé Community. With the theme of bearing witness to hope that will be at the heart of your reflection and prayers, Pope Francis is particularly close to you because he has often called you to not let anyone rob you of your hope. During the WYD prayer vigil in Kraków he strongly emphasized this essential reality of the Christian faith: “At the moment when the Lord calls us, he looks at all that we might be able to do, all the love we are capable of sharing. He always wagers on the future, on tomorrow. Jesus urges you on toward the horizon, never toward the museum” (30 July 2016).
The Holy Father thanks you for choosing to leave your comfortable homes to live out this pilgrimage of trust in response to the call of God’s Spirit.
Young Orthodox, Protestant and Catholic Christians, by these days lived in real fraternity you manifest your desire to be protagonists of history and not let others decide your future. The Pope encourages you to stand firm in hope by letting the Lord live in your hearts and your daily lives. With Jesus, the faithful friend who never disappoints, you will be able to walk along the path toward the future with joy and devote your talents and abilities for the good of all.
Today, many people are disconcerted and discouraged by violence, injustice, suffering and divisions. They have the impression that evil is stronger than anything. Therefore, Pope Francis invites you to show in your words and deeds that evil is not the last word in our history. For “it is the time of mercy for each and all, since no one can think that he or she is cut off from God’s closeness and the power of his tender love” (Apostolic Letter, Misericordia and Misera, section 21).
The Pope hopes that these days that bring you together in Riga will help you not to be afraid of your limits but to grow in trust in Jesus, the Christ and Lord, who believes and hopes in you. May you, in the simplicity to which Brother Roger bore witness, build bridges of friendship and make visible the love with which God loves us.
From the depths of his heart, the Holy Father gives you his blessing, to you young people participating in this meeting, to the Brothers of Taizé, and to all the people who welcome you in Riga and the surrounding region.