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Pope Francis releases World Youth Day 2014 message

By on Thursday, 6 February 2014

Pope Francis embraces a boy during World Youth Day 2013 in Brazil (CNS)

Pope Francis embraces a boy during World Youth Day 2013 in Brazil (CNS)

The “poor in spirit,” whom Jesus described as “blessed,” are the same people the world considers to be “losers,” Pope Francis has told Catholic young people.

But Jesus offers his followers the true path to happiness, and faith in him “will allow you to expose and reject the ‘low-cost’ offers and approaches all around you,” the Pope said in his message for World Youth Day 2014.

The message, released at the Vatican, focused on the beatitude: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

Pope Francis has chosen the beatitudes from the fifth chapter of the Gospel of St Matthew as the themes for World Youth Day 2014-2016. This year and next, World Youth Day will be celebrated on a local level – on Palm Sunday by the Vatican – and in 2016 it will be an international gathering in Krakow, Poland.

The Pope told young people that in April, he will canonise Blessed John Paul II, who began the international celebrations and will be “the great patron of the World Youth Days”.

“To be blessed means to be happy,” the Pope said. “In an age when we are constantly being enticed by vain and empty illusions of happiness, we risk settling for less and ‘thinking small’ when it comes to the meaning of life. Think big instead. Open your hearts.”

“Young people who choose Christ are strong: They are fed by his word and they do not need to ‘stuff themselves'” with money, possessions and fleeting pleasure, the Pope added.

“Have the courage to swim against the tide. Have the courage to be truly happy.”

Explaining how true happiness includes being “poor in spirit,” the Pope said he knew it seemed strange to link happiness and poverty.

But, he said, in the Bible being poor isn’t just about having few material possessions. “It suggests lowliness, a sense of one’s limitations and existential poverty. The ‘anawim’ (God’s poor) trust in the Lord, and they know they can count on him.”

The Pope said his namesake, St Francis of Assisi, “understood perfectly the secret of the beatitude” and demonstrated that by living “in imitation of Christ in his poverty and in love for the poor.”

To be poor in spirit, the Pope told young people, they must learn to be free or detached from material things, living simply, being concerned about the essentials, but “learning to do without all those unneeded extras.”

Poverty in spirit also requires “a conversion in the way we see the poor,” which means meeting them, listening to them, caring for them and offering them both material and spiritual assistance, he said.

Living according to the beatitude also means recognising that the poor “have much to offer us and to teach us,” particularly that “people’s value is not measured by their possessions or how much money they have in the bank.”

Looking to Mary, particularly in the Magnificat, the Pope told young people, “the joy of the Gospel arises from a heart which, in its poverty, rejoices and marvels at the works of God.”

The full text of Pope Francis’ World Youth Day 2014 message is available here

  • paulpriest

    Sorry Your Holiness but that’s not the meaning of ‘Poor in Spirit’ – it has nothing to do with not being avaricious nor desirous of material things or living simply or appreciating/assisting/serving/sacrificing for the poor…

    “Poor in Spirit” is Humility – the gateway to Virtue – that without God I am nothing.- opposing the deadly sin of pride. ‘Existential poverty’ is not to be equated with the anawim…

    Blessed are the Merciful opposes the deadly sin of avarice
    Blessed are those who bear persecution opposes the deadly sin of gluttony

    This is penny catechism stuff!

  • Guest

    I wonder if the Holy Father could lead a real revolution in the current hierarchy’s mind-set, by re-learning the Penny Catechism, publicly, showing themselves poor in spirit, but with the Spirit poured out generously in great measure (through their belief of, acceptance for and witness to its simply learned doctrine)!

    God bless our Pope!

  • paulpriest

    Let’s pray this ‘poverty’ doesn’t mean a repeat of plastic cup temporary ciboria…

  • Thaddeus

    The mere fact the Pontiff is reaching, touching and caring for the poor (materially deprived) as Christ did in the Gospel proves that he is a man of action (love) and humility.

    Galatians 6:2, “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.”

    Galatians 5:6, “The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.”

    You people are so hyper-critical, how about you, what have you done lately with your less fortunate neighbor as Christ said, “love as thyself”?

  • Catoliko

    World Youth Day isn’t perfect but who is? This program made our parish youths and some friend’s family on-fire catholics. I know what ‘traddies’ think about WYD and most think they are just jealous the Church is not paying attention to their tantrums.

  • paulpriest

    What comes first?
    Our Lord’s teaching or His Holiness’s mis-reference to it and mis-application? The Beatitudes fully cover what His Holiness requests but Poor in Spirit refers to humility not material poverty and let Heaven & Earth fall before that Truth is denied- what do you want? His Holiness can still be loved and obeyed while we -in humility and deference to Truth – the Person of Christ state sorry your Holiness – wrong Beatitude – the Holy Father is the first to admit he’s no theologian.

  • Knight John

    I think the Pope does well to emphasise loving simply.

  • Snap

    What on earth is he doing to that poor boy in the picture? He looks as if the Pope is hurting him.

  • mickman

    I think the photograph captures the child’s yearning spirit. Anyone who sees otherwise must have made many blunders in interpreting expression and body language. Pope Francis is showing every single bishop how to be a bishop. Meet the faithful, show true interest and pleasure. They will never forget. You become a beacon which both beckons people to Christ. . . and illuminates the Way. . . how to be. You can fake it for a day. . . but not for months and years. Of course some think nothing of breaking the fifth commandment. . . detraction.

  • kag1982

    That was a really sweet moment.. the adorable Brazilian kid managed to slip past security during WYD in Rio. He wanted to tell Pope Francis that he wanted to be a priest.

  • Biriba

    That Brazilian kid is wearing my favorite team’s jersey (Botafogo). Tomorrow we play the Pope’s favorite team (San Lorenzo) in a Copa Libertadores de América game at Maracanã. Just found this picture quite ironic. :P

  • Agnus

    “To be blessed means to be happy,” the Pope said.

    I said to a Priest recently “Give me YOUR Blessing Father” He laid his hands upon my head and uttered some words in Latin that sent something akin to a Spiritual Lightning bolt through my system. By this Priestly administration of God’s spiritual Blessing, I was TRULY Blessed.

    The result to myself of receiving his Priestly Blessing, one given to me from GOD, through His instrument, a truly Traditional, Tridentine rite Sacred Minister of Our Lord, was that the spiritual darkness that seemed to be drowning and choking me, removed itself instantaneously. Did his blessing make me feel “Happy?” no, “Happiness” is a transitory emotion, that has nothing whatsoever to do with the sort of spiritual graces that Our Lord Jesus Christ was referring to. The using of the word “Happiness” to describe the gift of the grace from God would be a spiritual undervaluation of the supreme Sanctifying Priestly Blessing that had been granted me. (Our Lord Jesus Christ was a Priest, He proved this by offering Himself up to the Father upon the Sacred Altar at Passover, the ultimate Passover Lamb, of which all others were merely prefigurements. His Sanctity is being undervalued. The meanness of spirit of those that sought to re-evaluate the Catholic Priesthood by removing the Priestly connotations of the word “Blessed” will no doubt be punished by the great High Priest Himself. There sin is that they sought to evaluate themselves through the worlds eyes, in order to gain acceptance, but at what a cost, the Tridentine Rite is now viewed as narcissistic when the only narcissists are those who prefer to pander to the world and gain acceptance, and acclaim for their treacherous removal of Sanctity, rather than to uphold it and administer the supreme graces that are necessary for all to receive the Blessings that are needed to gain eternal life. Christ is a Priest. He established a Priesthood, His terminological phraseology should be returned to its original intent. Rather than hoodwinking the world that Christ was a do-gooder, they should re-establish Him as He truly IS, somebody who as the Father proves in the Old Testament, is capable of undermining His own Covenant with His chosen people, when they do not keep THEIR side of their Sacred Oaths.

    No offence to the present Bishop of Rome, Francis, but I am a bit shocked that he has jumped on the modernist bandwagon of those that seek to liberalise the true interpretation of the Sacred Scriptures to such an extent, that they risk making null and void their own Sacred Priesthood. A Priest’s main job is to be a vessel through which Our Lord can grace His people via the Sacraments. The Sacraments, when participated in correctly, have the effect of administering grace. Note the spiritual connotations – the Bible should always be interpreted in a Priestly way, to trivialise the Beatitudes to the extent that they are today by the modernist clergy is folly. They undermine their own Priestly calling to lift the people that they serve up to God in a Spiritually rewarding way.

    The original meaning of the Beatitudes was that of a spiritual Blessing given by God to His people in order that they might become Holy and gain the necessary spiritual graces from the Benediction that they might seek for and gain eternal life.

    The comments of the Church Fathers on this can be found at this link

    http://www.clerus.org/bibliaclerusonline/en/index.htm

    scroll down to the section of Matthew where the Beatitudes are listed and underneath the section at the right hand side of the page press the word “Comment”

    There is also an interesting article about this topic at this link

    http://www.adoremus.org/12-0101-blessed.html

    May God soon restore His Sacred Ministers to their Former Benedictory Majesty.