Common Grounds

Dear friends from the five Continents,

March 01, 2021

Living Words from John Paul II

Edited by Abraham A. van Kempen


Published Sunday, February 28, 2021

Dear friends from the five Continents,

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 greet with special affection the young people from countries where hatred, violence, and War bring suffering to entire populations.


I mention the young people of other Churches and Ecclesial Communities here this evening with some of their Pastors. May the World Youth Day be another occasion for us to know each other and implore together from the Spirit of the Lord the gift of all Christians' perfect unity! 



I wish to bear witness to this faith here before all of you, young friends. I believe firmly in Jesus Christ our Lord. Yes, I believe, and I make my own the words of the Apostle Paul: "The life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me" (Galatians 2:20). 


I remember how I learned to pray and trust in God as a child in my own family. I remember the parish life that I attended in Wadowice and Saint Stanislaus Kostka's parish in Debniki in Kraków, where I received my basic formation in Christian living.


I cannot forget the experience of the War and the years of work in a factory. My priestly vocation came to its full maturity during Poland's occupation. The tragedy of the War gave a particular coloring to the gradual maturing of my vocation in life.


In these circumstances, I perceived a light shining ever more brightly within me: the Lord wanted me to be a priest! I remember feeling that moment in my life when, on the morning of 1 November 1946, I was ordained a priest. 


My Credo continues in my current service to the Church. On 16 October 1978, after my election to the See of Peter, when I was asked "Do you accept?", I answered, "With obedience in faith to Christ, my Lord, and trusting in the Mother of Christ and the Church, no matter what the difficulties, I accept." From that time on, I have tried to carry out my mission, drawing light and strength every day from the faith that binds me to Christ. 


But my faith, like that of Peter and like the faith of each of you, is not just my doing. It is essentially and primarily the work of the Holy Spirit, a gift of his grace. The Lord gives his Spirit to me as he gives him to you, to help us say: 'I believe,' and then to use us to bear witness to him in every corner of the world. 


In opening your Jubilee, dear young people, I would like to repeat the words with which I began my ministry as Bishop of Rome and Pastor of the universal Church; I would like them to guide your days in Rome: 


               "Do not be afraid!


               Open, indeed, open wide the doors to Christ!.


               Open your hearts, lives, doubts, difficulties, joys, and affections to his saving power, and let him enter your hearts.


               Do not be afraid!


               Christ knows what is in man. He alone knows it".


I said this on 22 October 1978. I repeat it with the same conviction, with the same force today, seeing the hope of the Church and the world shining in your eyes. 


Yes, let Christ govern your young lives; serve him with love.


To serve Christ is freedom!


Excerpted from:


JOHN PAUL II; 15th WORLD YOUTH DAY; The Holy Father's Address At The Welcoming Ceremony;St. Peter's  Square, Tuesday, 15 August 2000.



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