Common Grounds

The Evangelical Pope | Receive to Give

November 22, 2021

Living Words from John Paul II

Edited by Abraham A. van Kempen


Published Sunday, November 21, 2021

The Evangelical Pope | Receive to Give

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.



Lisbon, 14 May 1982 | Humankind begins life as a recipient. At birth, you are implanted from the womb into another world prepared by others, mainly by those closest to you: parents, brothers, and sisters. In this new world, the child receives everything from nutrition to formation. You learn to speak, walk, and interact with others – live together. Upon discovering new abilities, the young person seeks to overcome this infantile stage of receiving and move on to the stage of giving. You want to go beyond the world you have been given. You want to do – give and take – more, create "your world." It is the time of life's most significant decisions, the moment for which you are designed and prepared. Your purpose is imprinted into your mind (spirit), body, and soul. This unique and essential orientation determines and shapes the rest of your life.


This passage, from receiving to giving, from dependence to interdependence, exercising responsibilities, executing commitments, and fulfilling obligations, is not without crisis. It is a path of growth and maturation. Often the young person is not understood, nor does one know oneself. You no longer want to be treated like a child. You feel you're not yet an adult. It often falters inside.


On the other hand, everything seems to awaken you. You discover norms and values, sex, love, and the ideal. You also explore the multi-dimensional boundaries of faith. Great discoveries for you, dear young people!


The world no longer appears to you as a myth but a tremendous task that imposes itself on you. Your life is no longer just a gift. It becomes a commitment. Don't expect everything will be done for you. Come out of your shell!


Two great concerns challenge you. Two significant issues arise with a view to the future:  preparation for your profession and preparation for your livelihood. Both these concerns keep young people so busy that they become impatient. The tension experienced by the youth can be summarized as a tension between the 'all' and the 'not yet.' One already feels the responsibility without yet the opportunity to prove it.


It is precisely at this moment, at the great moment of choosing and preparing your future, that you most need Christ. Be generous! Choose with love! Prepare yourselves for the profession, honestly and with dignity. Prepare for the state of life you will embrace.


Read more: Racial Justice Vs. The Israel Lobby: When Being Pro-Palestine Becomes the New Normal


Excerpted from:


Viagem Apostólica A Portugal 12-15 De Maio De 1982


Santa Missa Para Os Jovens, HOMILIA DO PAPA JOÃO PAULO II, Lisboa, 14 de maio de 1982




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