In March, it will be six years since Jorge Mario Bergoglio was elected as the first Latin American to lead the Catholic Church throughout the world. Since he was named the Bishop of Rome, Francis has been characterized by his humility and he has made a difference with his evangelization, both by his actions and the messages he has shared.
A different time has arrived for all of the Christian world: not only of preaching and sowing a new faith, but also gaining trust, uniting the Church, and hoping for the people it has lost.
In his pilgrimages throughout the world, Pope Francis draws enthusiastic, joyful crowds, both young and old… not only pious people, but also many that have lost joy and faith, and have returned by the evangelizing mission of the Church.
During his visit to the Americas, he left profound phrases that will last in our memory. Here are some of the most striking phrases said by Pope Francis.
“Open yourselves and dream. Dream that with you, the world can be different. Dream that if you do your best, you will help this world to be different. Don’t forget: dream.”
“In the objectivity of life, there has to be the capacity to dream. And a young person who is not able to dream is closed in on themself,” Pope Francis said in Cuba.
“Social hostility destroys. And a family is destroyed by hostility. A country is destroyed by hostility. The world is destroyed by hostility. And the greatest hostility is war. And today, we see that the world is destroying itself through war because we are incapable of sitting down and talking.”
“Hope is suffered. Hope knows how to suffer to carry out a project, how to sacrifice. Are you capable of sacrificing yourself for the future or do you only want to live in the present and let those who come fix the future? Hope is fruitful. Hope gives life.”
In the address that Pope Francis gave before hundreds of thousands of young people gathered on the “Costanera” riverside, he spoke about the importance of freedom, solidarity, true friendship, and the importance of making a ruckus in an organized way. A moving phrase was: “I want you to understand this, and I want you to keep it always in mind: If my life is relatively easy, there are other young men and women whose lives are not relatively easy.”
He also expressed that, “to know God is strength. In other words, to know God, to draw closer to Jesus, is hope and strength. And that is what we need from young people today: young people full of hope and strength. We don’t want ‘namby-pambies,’ young people who are just there, lukewarm, unable to say either yes or no. We don’t want young people who tire quickly and who are always weary, with bored faces. We want young people who are strong. We want young people full of hope and strength. Why? Because they know Jesus, because they know God. Because they have a heart that is free.”
“The biggest threat to hope is when you feel that you do not matter to anybody or that you have been left aside. This is the great obstacle to hope: when, in a family, society, school, or a group of friends, you are made to feel unimportant to them... But there is also another principal threat to the hope... The biggest threat is when a person feels that they must have money to buy everything, including the love of others. The biggest threat is to believe that by having a big car you will be happy.”
“I believe in Jesus Christ and that is why I tell you this. It is he who continually renews in me this hope, it is he who continually renews my outlook. It is he who awakens in me, in each one of us, the wonder of enjoying, the charm of dreaming, the delight of working together.”
“You have asked me for a word of hope, and the one word I have to give you, which is the foundation of everything, is Jesus Christ. When everything seems too much, when it seems that the world is crashing down on you, embrace his Cross, draw close to him and please, never let go of his hand, even if they are dragging you; and, if you fall down, allow him to lift you up.”
“Mountain climbers have a lovely song which I like to repeat to young people. As they go up the mountain they sing: ‘In the art of climbing upwards, the triumph is not in not falling but rather in not staying down on the ground.’”
““And if you see a friend who has slipped up in life and fallen, go and offer him or her your hand, but do so with dignity. No, as a friend, slowly give them strength by your words, give them strength by your listening, that medicine which sadly is being forgotten: ‘the therapy of listening.’ Let them speak, let them share their experience, and then little by little, they will offer you their hand, and, in the name of Jesus Christ, you can help them.”
“The family is the first school of the nation, and in the family you will find that richness and value that you have. The family is like the custodian of that great value, in the family you will find hope, for Jesus is there, and in the family you will have dignity. Never, never put the family to one side…”
“The Lord is not selective, he does not exclude anyone, the Lord embraces all; and all – listen to this – all of us are important and essential to him.”
“Please keep joy alive; it is a sign of a young heart, of a heart that has encountered the Lord. And if you keep alive that joy with Jesus, no one can snatch this away from you (cf. Jn 16:22). But should there be any doubt, let me offer you some advice: Do not let anyone rob you of joy; look after that joy which unites everyone in the knowledge of being loved by the Lord.”
“Do not be afraid of the future! Dare to dream big! I want to invite you to that great dream today. Please do not get into that ‘chiquitaje’ [small-minded talk], don’t aim low, but aim high and dream big.”
“You teach us, who are older, that the culture of meeting is not in thinking, living, or reacting to everyone in the same way. No, it is not that. The culture of encounter, of meeting, is knowing that beyond our differences we are all part of something greater that unites and transcends us; we are part of this wonderful country. Help us to enter, help us who are older, to enter this culture of encounter, of meeting which you put into practice so well.”
"To each of us the Lord has entrusted something and the response is to trust in him.”
“Ask for help and advice from people you know can give good advice because their faces radiate joy and peace. Let them accompany you as you journey along the path of life.”
“Jesus wants to see you on the move. He wants to see you achieve your ideals and to be enthusiastic in following his instructions.”
“Jesus is never discouraged, never: ‘Father, but if you knew the things I do, I say something but I do another, my life is not completely clean.’ This being so, Jesus does not become discouraged about you.”
“Color filtering and high definition only function well in video; we can never apply them to our friends. There are pictures that are very nice, but completely fake. Let me assure you that the heart can’t be ‘photoshopped,’ because that’s where authentic love and genuine happiness have to be found and that’s where you show him who you are: how is your heart?”
“When Jesus looks at us, he does not think about how perfect we are, but about all the love we have in our hearts to give him and to follow him.”
“Watch out for that! Maturing means growing and letting dreams grow and letting aspirations grow, not lowering your guard and allowing yourself to be bought for peanuts; that’s not growing up.”
“How much the Church needs you, and the Church in Chile to ‘shake the ground beneath our feet’ and help us draw closer to Jesus! This is what we ask of you, that you shake the ground beneath our fixed feet, and help us to be closer to Jesus.”
“Without a connection, a connection to Jesus, we end up drowning our thoughts and ideas, our dreams, and our faith, and, naturally, we get frustrated and annoyed.”
“It is not enough to hear a sermon or learn an answer from the catechism; we want to live the way Jesus lived. What would Jesus do in my place? To translate Jesus into my life.”