In the final major address of his three-country trip in Latin America, Pope Francis met with hundreds of thousands of young people Sunday evening, tossing aside his prepared remarks and urging his audience to make a difference in life, even if it means making a mess.
This is the kind of young people we need today, Francis said, “strong, hopeful young people.” He added, “We don’t want wimpy young people who are just getting by without committing themselves. We don’t want young people who tire easily and go through life tired, with bored faces.”
Francis seemed especially interested in firing up the young people to go out and do something important with their lives, rather than moping about sad and bored.
“Shake things up!” Francis told them, “but then help to clean up and organize the mess you make.”
“Both things are important: make a mess but then straighten things up well.”
“A mess that gives us a free heart, a mess that gives us solidarity, a mess born from having met Jesus and knowing that the God I met is my strength. That is, or should be, the mess you make,” he said.
“This is the path,” Francis said, “but it takes sacrifice. You have to swim upstream.”
Follow Thomas D. Williams on Twitter @tdwilliamsrome.