-- ZENIT.org News Agency
Pope Encourages Confirmation Candidates to "Swim Against the Tide"
100,000 Gather in St. Peters Square for 'Day of Confirmands' Mass
By Junno Arocho Esteves
VATICAN CITY, April 29, 2013 (Zenit.org) - Yesterday, 44 youth from across the globe received the Sacrament of Confirmation by Pope Francis during a Mass held yesterday at St. Peter's Square. The Confirmation Mass was one of several Year of Faith events that will be held throughout the year in Rome. An estimated 100,000 faithful attended the mass.
During his homily the Holy Father offered his reflections on the Sunday readings, speaking first on St. John's vision of "new heavens and a new earth."
Saint John's vision, the Pope said, "reminds us that all of us are journeying towards the heavenly Jerusalem, the ultimate newness which awaits us and all reality, the happy day when we will see the Lord's face – that marvelous face, the most beautiful face of the Lord Jesus - and be with him for ever, in his love."
The Pope invited the faithful to see the transformation of the Holy Spirit in our lives as a calling from God to transform the world. By allowing ourselves to be guided by the Spirit, he continued, we "allow God's constant help to make us new men and women, inspired by the love of God which the Holy Spirit bestows on us!"
"How beautiful it would be if each of you, every evening, could say: Today at school, at home, at work, guided by God, I showed a sign of love towards one of my friends, my parents, an older person! How beautiful!" the Holy Father exclaimed.
Commenting on the reading from the Acts of the Apostles, Pope Francis compared the Church's journey to that of each individual's journey as Christians, which is met with trials and difficulties. Following God to cleanse and free us from sin, he said, "is to set out on a path with many obstacles."
"But difficulties and trials are part of the path that leads to God's glory, just as they were for Jesus, who was glorified on the cross; we will always encounter them in life! Do not be discouraged! We have the power of the Holy Spirit to overcome these trials!" the Pope said.
The Holy Father then directed his attention to the "confirmandi", those youth who were to received the sacrament of Confirmation, exhorting them to remain steadfast in the journey of faith. The Pope encouraged the youth to "swim against the tide" with the courage given to them by the Lord.
"Pay attention, my young friends," the Holy Father said, "to go against the current; this is good for the heart, but we need courage to swim against the tide. Jesus gives us this courage! There are no difficulties, trials or misunderstandings to fear, provided we remain united to God as branches to the vine, provided we do not lose our friendship with him, provided we make ever more room for him in our lives."
Inviting the Confirmation candidates to trust in the mercy of God, Pope Francis encouraged them commit themselves to great ideals.
"We Christians," the Pope concluded, "were not chosen by the Lord for little things; push onwards toward the highest principles. Stake your lives on noble ideals, my dear young people: the new things of God, the trials of life, remaining steadfast in the Lord."
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