, NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 27 – Pope Francis on Friday challenged Kenya’s youths to renew their commitment to God and foster greater ties at home, saying families are schools of prayer and mercy.
Pope Francis who addressed thousands of youths drawn from across the country at the Kasarani stadium, said in families, God teaches us to love him and how to live with one another in charity and peace.
“Our families are not always perfect, and are often reminders of the need for conversion, forgiveness, patience and mutual encouragement. Families are schools of prayer and mercy, where we learn how to live in the love which unites the Father, Son and Holy Spirit,” the Pontiff told the attentive youths.
He explained that in families, children learn God’s ways from their parents and grandparents, how to pray and, most importantly, how to forgive.
“But children also teach their elders. By their simplicity, humility and unconditional love, they remind all of us that Jesus calls us to become like children, for to such belongs the kingdom of God.”
He asked them to be good sons and daughters, “loving parents to your children, attentive to the wisdom of your grandparents, and ever ready to reach out to the poor and those who do not have a family.”
He cautioned them against being Christians in name only, but in all their thoughts, words and deeds, observing that this may seem difficult at times.
“We are often so busy and we leave little room for the things that matter most. Certainly, we can be busy with many good things, such as work, studies and the responsibilities of family and friendship. We think that God is always there, so He can wait, and when I find a little time, I will give it to Him. But we all know what happens when we think this way. God loses first place in our lives, and life loses its flavour, its direction, its focus.”
The Pope who wound up his Kenyan visit Friday afternoon, told the youth to fall in love with Jesus Christ.
“What you are in love with, what seizes your imagination, will affect everything. It will decide what will get you out of bed in the morning, what you do with your evenings, how you spend your weekends, what you read, whom you know, what breaks your heart, and what amazes you with joy and gratitude.”
“Fall in love, stay in love, and it will decide everything.”
He told the youths that the time he spent with them on Friday would continue to be an encouragement to him throughout his visit to Africa.
“I ask you to accompany me with your prayers, because I need them so much. I would also like to ask you to do something: leave this place today with a new commitment to love Jesus, to rekindle that gift of faith which he has given you.”
He acknowledged that Kenya is a country blessed with natural beauty, bountiful resources and a long history.
“But its greatest treasure lies in its people, especially its elderly who preserve its wisdom, and its young who foretell its future.”