Care of Youth: Two
I have a real concern about the way young people are being drawn into a violent fundamentalism in a perversion of religious faith. I believe there is a deep desire amongst young people to commit themselves to a cause often amidst a cultural context within which there is ingrained hopelessness despair and hedonism.
Pope Francis articulated a similar concern at the International Conference for Peace, Cairo Egypt April 28th 2017 when he stated:
“An education in respectful openness and sincere dialogue with others, recognizing their rights and basic freedoms, particularly religious freedom, represents the best way to build the future together, to be builders of civility.
For the only alternative to the civility of encounter is the incivility of conflict. To counter effectively the barbarity of those who foment hatred and violence, we need to accompany young people, helping them on the path to maturity and teaching them to respond to the incendiary logic of evil by patiently working for the growth of goodness.
In this way, young people, like well-planted trees, can be firmly rooted in the soil of history, and, growing heavenward in one another’s company, can daily turn the polluted air of hatred into the oxygen of fraternity.”
We are called to pray and act in our accompaniment of young people towards a mature growth in goodness. The following prayer is one we can use during this preparation for the Synod of Bishops in 2018.
As indicated in the previous blog a key ingredient of the vow formula of Jesuits and some members of the Ignatian family is the ‘care of youth’. It is grounded in the vision of the Principle and Foundation of the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius Loyola that we are created to praise reverence and serve Christ Our Lord.
It is elaborated in that call to mission and service of the Call of Christ the King and exalted in the contemplatio when we come to see all things as coming from and returning to the Father in and through the work of Christ in the world. As we search for new ways to share with young people the inspiration and encouragement of the love of God at work in our world let us pray this prayer in faith.
Gracious God, you have placed at the heart of our vocation a special care for young people.
Give us we pray hearts and minds that are attuned to the contemporary needs of young men and women. Inspire us with your love and grace that we might share that inspiration.
Cause us to be signs of that hope and joy which you so desire to share with all people.
May we encourage young people to walk the path of peace, justice and service without violence and hatred so that they in turn may be a source of inspiration and hope to others.
( This prayer arose from a series of meetings with some scholastics at Regis College and was first proposed to the Ignatian family for the feast of All the Saints and Blessed of the Society 2015 by: Matthew Charlesworth, S.J., John O’Brien, S.J., Edmund Lo, S.J. and Gill Goulding CJ)