Pope Francis watches as a musician performs during a meeting with young people and elders outside the primary school in Iqaluit in the Canadian territory of Nunavut July 29, 2022. Photo by Michael Swan

Soar high with Christ

By 
  • August 3, 2022

Standing out from the final day of Pope Francis’ penitential pilgrimage to foster reconciliation with Canada’s Indigenous peoples was his remarks to Inuit youth in Iqaluit.

Toasting them as “future of this land and the present of its history,” he bestowed three pieces of wisdom on Inuit youth: keep walking upwards, come to the light each day and be part of a team.

He elaborated on each piece of advice. Walking forward, he says, means going beyond just brokering the responsibilities and pleasures that make up your day. Instead, he charged them to “soar upwards, towards the most genuine, true and beautiful desires that you cherish in your hearts, to love God and to serve your neighbour.”

Inspiringly, he also urged each young person to not “think that life’s great dreams are as unattainable as the sky above. You were made to fly, to embrace the courage of truth and the beauty of justice.”

Coming to the light, Francis said, requires youth to resist the darkness of false prophets and lies.

“There is perhaps no darkness deeper than the darkness that enters young people’s souls when false prophets extinguish in them the light of faith and hope and love,” he said.

Third, he doled out his wisdom to seek fellowship and teamwork by comparing the youth to the stars of the sky.

“You young people are like the stars in the sky, which shine so marvelously in this land,” he said. “Their beauty comes from the whole, from the constellations they make up, which give light and provide bearings in the nights of this world. You too, called to the heights of Heaven and to shine here on Earth, are made to shine together, in unison.”

Pope Francis’ pearls of wisdom should transcend and apply to all boys, girls, young men and women who seek to walk together with Jesus Christ day by day.

We can take one quick snapshot of our country and world today and quickly surmise that we are experiencing a time of division and tribulation, and it seems evident that the stormy waters will not subside any time soon.

Studying the passages of history, we can take comfort that periods of profound strife have been followed by great awakenings of hope, faith, love and civility. Also comforting is that the contributions of young people have been instrumental in fueling these renaissances.

During a long weekend family reunion in Saskatoon, I had the pleasure of attending the 8:30 a.m. Sunday service at St. Patrick’s Parish on Centennial Drive.

Fr. David Tumback delivered a wonderful homily, speaking with earnest conviction about how we must resist the greedy impulse to horde our treasures because, “out of the over 1,000 funerals I have celebrated, I have never seen a U-Haul following the hearse.”

More strikingly, Tumback spoke to a deeper greed of choosing not to “emptying ourselves” like Francis did on this papal visit, but far more importantly, the way Jesus did when He was crucified for our sins.

A flood of positive change around the world can start with a single “drop” of one Christian deciding to use his or her talents to glorify God, taking time to empathetically help family, friends or strangers navigate a problem and making an empowered decision to surrender and be born again through belief that Jesus died for our sins.

We cannot soar upward, as Francis instructs, if we remain governed by the anxieties, fear and distrust governing daily life on Earth.

(Amundson is The Catholic Register’s Youth Editor.)

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