Reflection on Apostolic Exhortation for Young People

“Christ is Alive”, the apostolic exhortation to Young People and the People of God, speaks of ways to meet Christ in the every day experience of one’s life. The document itself serves as a dialogue between youth/young adults and older adults and serves as a place to begin a dialogue where groups of young adults have felt unheard in the church. The synodal process itself created a space for youth and young adults to be more heard and understood within the church as well as outside of it. The synodal process led to the creation of this apostolic exhortation for young people and the people of God.

Within this document Pope Francis speaks of the the need for women in the church, as well as the rights and roles of women in the church. He also addresses the need for the church to create a space for young people to exist, to welcome young people , and to embrace young people for positions of leadership. He advocates for others to see Christ in young people, as well as young people to see Christ present in themselves. He emphasizes the importance of empowering the youth to see the ways they can use their gifts and talents in relation to their faith, within the church, in the world, and in their daily lives. Pope Francis also addresses the need to more deeply look at these roles as we continue to create a new spring in the church.

Focusing on the young people’s relationship with Christ, as well as with others, Pope Francis challenges us to see “Christ Alive” in others, in the church, and in one-self. Encouraging youth to know they are loved, that they are saved, and to know the Holy Spirit gives life, he re-iterates that Christ is a friend. Christ is someone you can turn to in times of need, and for the journey. This includes Christ present in the church, in one-self, in the other, and in the world. Promoting unity among different groups within the church, the pope makes it clear that younger generations and older generations are to be encouraging and supportive of each other’s missions. With that being said, he advocates for youth not to be afraid to put themselves out there, to allow themselves to continue to grow and develop, and to remain calm during moments of increased responsibility. He also advocates that older generations embrace the youth for who they are, see their value and worth, and empower them to contribute to the church and to the world.

Lastly Pope Francis establishes the importance of accepting others where they are on their journey, encouraging them along the way. He encourages Christians to be accepting of migrants and different traditional practices. In this way he cultivates unity in the church, among different populations as well as among different groups. What is most moving about this document is the way he speaks to young people, encouraging them to believe in their dreams, to fulfill their dreams, and to co-create life for themselves and others, while God is beside them, and while in deeper relationship with Christ. Fully aware of the struggles between discerning vocations, as well as working, while contributing as a lay person in the church, and leading a life of faith, Pope Francis offers compassion to young people while they figure out how to fulfill their mission here on earth. He speaks of the beauty present in lay life, in being married, as well as working, while also dreaming of the future. He reassures the youth of God’s goodness, kindness, and mercy. He reassures young people that Christ is present with you, in your relationships, as you grow in your relationships, as you grow more deeply in love with someone, where you work, and the places you hang out. Do not under-estimate the presence of Christ in the world, and in all things, because Christ is present everywhere!

If you have not yet read this document, it is a must-read! Especially for those working with youth or young adults!

You may find a copy of the document at this link:

http://w2.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/apost_exhortations/documents/papa-francesco_esortazione-ap_20190325_christus-vivit.html

World Youth Day Poland 2.jpg
Mary Grenchus