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Critical conscience of society 

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FRIENDS, WE are not here to be enchanted by the sirens of the world, but to take our lives in hand, to “take a bite out of life,” in order to live it to the full.

In this way, with the freedom of Jesus, we find the courage we need to swim against the current. I would like to emphasize this: swimming against the current, having the courage to swim against the current.

Not the daily temptation to swim against other people, like those perpetual victims and conspiracy theorists who are always casting blame on others; but rather against the unhealthy current of our own selfishness, closed-mindedness, and rigidity that often seeks like-minded groups to survive.

[Avoid] ambiguous compromises. Instead, be free and authentic, be the critical conscience of society. Don’t be afraid to criticize! We need your criticism. Many of you, for example, are critical of environmental pollution. We need this! Be free in criticism.

Be passionate about truth, so that, with your dreams, you can say: “My life is not captive to the mindset of the world: I am free, because I reign with Jesus for justice, love and peace!”

Lift your gaze from earth to heaven, not in order to flee but to resist the temptation to remain imprisoned by our fears, for there is always the danger that our fears will rule us. Do not remain closed in on ourselves and our complaints. Lift up your eyes! Get up!

This is the word of encouragement that the Lord speaks to us, the invitation to lift up our eyes, to get up, and I wanted to repeat it in my Message to you for this year of journeying together.

You have been entrusted with an exciting but also challenging task: to stand tall while everything around us seems to be collapsing; to be sentinels prepared to see the light in night visions; to be builders amid the many ruins of today’s world; to be capable of dreaming.”

This is crucial: a young person unable to dream has sadly become old before his time! To be capable of dreaming, because this is what people who dream do: they do not remain in the darkness, but light a candle, a flame of hope that announces the coming of the dawn. Dream, make haste, and look to the future with courage.

(Excerpted from the message of Pope Francis to young Catholics in his Mass marking the 36th World Youth Day, Nov. 21, the feast of Christ the King)  

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