“Cultivate your roots, visit your grandparents; it will do you good.” – Pope Francis to young people

In a recent address to young people Pope Francis offered them some advice about their roots and their connection with Grandparents. The Holy Father was speaking to a gathering of young people in Lokomotiva Stadium on Tuesday 14 September as part of his visit to Slovakia.

He said, “If you think about some of the great stories you read in novels, or see in unforgettable movies or hear in some moving tale, there are always two things that go together. One is love, and the other is adventure, heroism. They always go together. For our life to be great, we need love and heroism alike.  If we look to the crucified Jesus, we find both boundless love and the courage to give one’s life to the utmost, without half-measures. We also have before us Blessed Anna (Kolesárová), a heroine of love. She tells us to aim high.  Please, don’t let your lives just pass by like so many episodes in a soap opera.

“And when you dream of love, don’t go looking for special effects, but realize that each of you is special, each of you. Every one of us is a gift and we can make our own lives a gift. Other people await you: your communities, the poor… Dream of a beauty that goes beyond appearances, beyond cosmetic impressions, beyond the fads of the moment. Dream fearlessly of creating a family, having children and raising them well, spending your life in sharing everything with another person. Don’t be ashamed of your faults and flaws, for there is someone out there ready to accept and love them, someone who will love you just as you are. This is what love means: loving someone as he or she is, and this is beautiful. Our dreams reveal the kind of life we want. Great dreams are not about powerful cars, fashionable clothes or wild vacations. Give no heed to those who appeal to dreams but instead peddle illusions. Dreaming is one thing; having illusions is another. Those who peddle illusions by speaking about dreams use happiness as a ploy for something else. We were created for a joy that is much greater. Each of us is unique. We were put in this world to be loved for who we are, and to love others in our own unique and special way.  Life is not a game, where we can sit on the bench, waiting to be called. No, each of us is unique in God’s eyes. So never let yourselves be “homogenized”, or turned into a nameless piece on an assembly line. None of us is “standard issue”; instead, we are unique, free and alive, called to live a love story with God, to make bold and firm decisions, to accept the marvelous risk of loving.  So I ask you: Do you believe this? Is this your dream?

“I would like to give you another bit of advice. For love to be fruitful, don’t forget your roots. What are your roots? Surely, they are your parents and especially your grandparents. Take heed: your grandparents. They prepared the soil in which you have grown. Cultivate your roots, visit your grandparents; it will do you good. Ask them questions, take time to listen to their stories. Today, there is a danger of growing up rootless, because we feel we always have to be on the go, to do everything in a hurry. What we see on the internet immediately enters our homes; just one click and people and things pop up on our screen. Those faces can end up becoming more familiar than those of our own families. Bombarded by virtual messages, we risk losing our real roots. To grow disconnected from life, or to fantasize in a void, is not a good thing; it is a temptation from the evil one. God wants us to be firmly grounded, connected to life. Never closed, but always open to others! Grounded and open. Understood? Grounded and open.”

You can read the address in full here.