Common Grounds

1985 Address of His Holiness John Paul II to Young Muslims

May 24, 2020

Living Words from John Paul II

Edited by Abraham A. van Kempen


Published Sunday, 24 May 2020

1985 Address of His Holiness John Paul II to Young Muslims

Each week we let Saint Pope John Paul II share meaningful signposts to spark socio-economic resolves through justice and righteousness combined with mercy and compassion; in short, love.


I give thanks and glory to God, who has granted me the blessing of meeting you today.


His Majesty, the King, honored me by visiting me in Rome some years ago. He courteously invited me to meet with you here in Morocco. I joyfully accepted His Majesty's invitation to speak with you in this Year of Youth. 


It is the first time that I find myself with young Muslims. I invoke the Most-High, the all-powerful God who is our creator. He is the origin of all life. He is at the source of all that is good. He is all that is beautiful, that is holy. It is, therefore, towards this God that my thought goes and that my heart rises. It is of God himself that, above all, I wish to speak with you; of him, because it is in him that we believe, you Muslims and we Christians.


We, Christians and Muslims, have many things in common, as believers and as human beings. We live in the same world, marked by many signs of hope, but also by multiple signs of anguish.


Abraham exemplifies faith in God, of submission to his will; and, confidence in his goodness. We, in our Abrahamic beliefs – Jews, Christians, and Muslims – worship the same God, the one God, the living God, the God who has created the world and brings his creatures to their perfection. 


I also want to speak with you about human values, which stems from God. These values concern the blossoming of our person, notwithstanding that of our families, our societies, and the international community. Is the mystery of God not the highest reality that gives meaning to life?


The Arabs of the Mashriq and the Maghrib, and Muslims in general, have a long tradition of study and erudition in literature, philosophy, and the art and sciences. You are the heirs of this tradition. You must study to learn to know this world which God has given us, to understand it, to discover its meaning, with a desire and a respect for truth, and to learn to know the peoples and the men created and loved by God, to prepare yourselves better to serve them.


The search for truth will lead you, beyond intellectual values, to the spiritual dimension of the interior life. Man is a spiritual being. We, believers, know that we do not live in a closed world. We believe, worship, and seek God.  Christianity respects and recognizes the quality of your spiritual progress, the richness of your religious tradition


We Christians are also proud of our religious tradition. But, let us recognize and respect our differences.


The most fundamental [of our Christian faith] is the view that we hold onto the person and work of Jesus of Nazareth. For Christians, Jesus causes them to enter into an intimate knowledge of the mystery of God and a filial communion by his gifts, so that they recognize him and proclaim him Lord and Savior. 


Those are significant differences, which we can accept with humility and respect, in mutual tolerance. There is a mystery thereon which, I am confident, God will one day enlighten us. 


Christians and Muslims, in general, have poorly understood each other. Often, we have opposed and even exhausted each other in polemics and wars. 


I believe that today, God invites us to change our old practices. We must respect each other [and dignify our differences]. We must stimulate each other in good works on the path of God. 


Ideologies and slogans cannot satisfy you, nor can they solve the problems of your life. Only the religious and moral values can do it. They have God as their fundament. 


Dear young people, help in building a world where God may have first place to aid and to save humankind. On this path, each from a unique perspective, join your Christian brothers and sisters whom I represent among you this evening.


I would like to thank God. We are all in his sight. It is he who puts in our hearts the feelings of mercy and understanding, pardon and reconciliation, service and collaboration. May we then be able to be available for him, and to be submissive to his will, to the calls that he makes to us! In this way, our lives will find a new dynamism. 


I am convinced that a world can be born where men and women of living faith will sing to the glory of God to seek and build a human society by God's will. 


I should like to finish by invoking him personally in your presence: 


O God, you are our creator. 
You are limitlessly excellent and merciful. 
To You is due the praise of every creature. 
O God, You have given us an interior law by which we should live. 
To do Your will is to perform our task. 
To follow Your ways is to find peace of soul. 
To You, we offer our obedience. 
Guide us in all the steps that we undertake on earth. 
Free us from evil inclinations that turn our hearts from Your will. 
Do not permit that in invoking Your Name, we should ever justify the human disorders. 
O God, you are the One Alone to whom we make our adoration. 
Do not permit that we should estrange ourselves from You. 
O God, judge of all humankind, help us to belong to Your elect on the last day. 
O God, the author of justice and peace, grant us true joy and authentic love, as also a lasting fraternity among all peoples. 
Fill us with Your gifts forever. Amen!


Excerpted from:






Monday, 19 August 1985




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