TAJapanWords from Pope Francis that invite us to reflect

The words of Pope Francis to youth in Japan, during his recent visit, are also a message for youth everywhere and for adults who want to keep young and are concerned for a better society.

Saint Pedro Poveda had great trust in the capacity of youth. This web site, Poveda-IT offers now excerpts of the words of the Holy Father to youth in Japan as stepping stones for reflection, regardless of age or  place. TA members from Japan were present at the celebration with Pope Francis and sent two photos they took.


  • Let us learn to build together the society we want for tomorrow.
  • The future is not monochrome; if we are courageous, we can contemplate it in all the variety and diversity of what each individual person has to offer. How much our human family needs to learn to live together in harmony and peace, without all of us having to be the same! How much we need to grow in fraternity, in concern for others and respect for different experiences and points of view!
  • Our meeting today is so joyful precisely because we are saying that the culture of encounter is possible. It is not a utopia, and you young people have the special sensitivity needed to carry it forward.
  • Fear is always the enemy of goodness because it is the enemy of love and peace. The great religions teach tolerance, harmony, and mercy, not fear, division, and conflict. Jesus constantly told his followers not to be afraid.
  • Unless we are generous in spending time with others, we will waste time on many things that, at the end of the day, leave us empty and confused; “stuffed”, as they would say in my country. So please make time for your family and friends, but also make time for God through meditation and prayer. And if you find it hard to pray, don’t give up. A wise spiritual guide once said: prayer is mostly just a matter of being there. Be still; make space for God; let him look at you and he will fill you with His peace.
  • More and more we see that a person, a community or even a whole society can be highly developed on the outside, but have an interior life that is impoverished and under-developed, lacking real life and vitality. Everything bores them; they no longer dream, laugh or play. They have no sense of wonder or surprise. They are like zombies; their hearts have stopped beating because of their inability to celebrate life with others. How many people throughout our world are materially rich, but live as slaves to unparalleled loneliness! I think of the loneliness experienced by so many people, young and old, in our prosperous but often anonymous societies. ..

    TA member in Japan at the Tokio Dome where Pope Francis presided an event
  • Combating this spiritual poverty is a task to which we are all called, and in which you have a special role to play because it demands a major change in priorities and options. It means recognizing that the most important thing is not what I have or can acquire, but with whom I can share it. It is not so important to focus on what I live for, but whom I live for.  Things are important, but people are essential.
  • Bear witness that a “social friendship” is possible! Put your hope in a future based on the culture of encounter, acceptance, fraternity, and respect for the dignity of each person, especially those most in need of love and understanding, without sensing the need to attack or despise others, but learning instead to recognize their gifts.
  • In order to stay alive physically, we have to keep breathing; it is something we do without realizing it, automatically. To stay alive in the fullest sense of the word, we also need to learn how to breathe spiritually, through prayer and meditation, in an inward movement by which we can hear God speak to us in the depths of our hearts. Yet we also need an outward movement, by which we reach out to others in acts of love and service. This double motion is what enables us to grow and to discover not only that we are loved by God, but that he has called each of us to a unique mission and vocation. We discover this to the extent that we give ourselves to others, to specific persons…PopeFrancisAt Tokio DomePope Francis as he passes close to TA members at the Tokio Dome
  • I would say that in order to grow, to discover our own identity, goodness and inner beauty, we cannot look at ourselves in a mirror. We have invented all sorts of gadgets, but we still can’t take ‘selfies’ of the soul. Thank God!  Because to be happy, we need to ask others to help us, to have the photo taken by someone else. We need to go out of ourselves towards others, especially those most in need (cf. Christus Vivit, 171).
  • Dear young people… Never lose heart or set aside your dreams. Give them plenty of room, dare to glimpse vast horizons and see what awaits you if you aspire to achieve them together. The world needs you, to be generous, cheerful and enthusiastic, capable of making a home for everyone. I pray that you will grow in spiritual wisdom and discover the path to true happiness in this life. I will keep you in my prayers, and I ask you, please, to pray for me.

(Pope Francis to youth in Japan and to youth of the world. Nov 25, 2019)

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