Pope Francis has called on young people to have a “concrete impact” in society and to work not only for the poor, but with the poor to address current global problems.
In his message during the “Economy of Francesco” forum on Nov. 21, the pontiff noted that changing the world needs “conversion and transformation” of priorities.
Pope Francis reminded young people to “be careful … not to be talked into believing” that the current global economic crisis “is just another banal problem.”
“You are called to have a concrete impact on cities and universities, workplaces and unions, businesses and movements, public and private offices, and to work with intelligence, commitment and conviction in order to reach the centers where ideas and paradigms are developed and decided,” he said.
The pontiff said the gravity of the current situation “demands that a responsible stand be taken by all social actors” with young people in the forefront.
“The effects of our actions and decisions will affect you personally,” he said.
He reminded the youth that they “cannot remain outside the centers that are shaping not only your future, but also … your present.”
He said young people “cannot absent yourselves from those places where the present and future are generated.”
“You are either part of them or history will pass you by,” he said.
Pope Francis urged the youth to work with the poor. “Let us learn from them how to propose economic models that will benefit everyone,” he said.
“We need to accept structurally that the poor have sufficient dignity to sit at our meetings, participate in our discussions and bring bread to their own tables,” he said.
The “Economy of Francesco,” an event sponsored by the Vatican Dicastery for Promoting Integral Development, aimed to form 2,000 young economists and entrepreneurs from around the world to “build a more just, fraternal, inclusive and sustainable economy today and in the future.”
Pope Francis said that to realize the goal of the conference there is a need to let the poor “become protagonists in their own lives and in the fabric of society as a whole.”
He said young people should not be afraid “to get involved and touch the soul of your cities with the gaze of Jesus.”
“Do not fear to enter courageously the conflicts and crossroads of history in order to anoint them with the fragrance of the Beatitudes,” he continued. “Do not fear, for no one is saved alone.”
He warned that once the global health crisis has passed, “the worst reaction would be to fall even more deeply into feverish consumerism and forms of selfish self-protection.”
The pope said the future is “an exciting time that summons us to acknowledge the urgency and the beauty of the challenges lying before us.”
Watch the pope deliver his message below.