By Devin Watkins
“Reading the Gospel, praying assiduously, and studying the catechism with enthusiasm help us to ‘transfer’ to our heart and our mind the eyes, feelings, and attitudes of Jesus.”
Pope Francis offered that positive review of a new edition of YOUCAT, in a letter to young people published in the Italian newspaper La Stampa, on Monday.
He encouraged young people to study the Youth Catechism of the Catholic Church, recalling that love is the real reason we are Christians.
“Love is the primary reason for the existence of the Church,” said the Pope. “I speak, first of all, of the love of tenderness and mercy that God the Father has for every human being and that Jesus the Son has revealed to us with His life, His death, and His resurrection.”
Each of us, he added, is invited to respond to God’s love for us with love for Him and for our brothers and sisters.
Joy in knowing Jesus and making him known
Pope Francis recalled Pope Benedict XVI’s encyclical Deus caritas est and his assertion that our Christian life flows from an encounter with Jesus, which gives our lives a new horizon and direction.
At the same time, we must know about the person whom we love in order to love properly and make Him known.
“This is, in truth, the sweet joy of evangelization: the joy of bringing to the whole world one’s love for Jesus,” said the Pope. “This beautiful book that you now have in your hands is born from such love: the love for Jesus that we believers carry within.”
He noted that the YOUCAT is based on the Catechism of the Catholic Church, published in 1992, but presented in a style and rhythm directed to young people.
Pope Francis invited young readers to “love this book, because it is the fruit of love.”
“You will discover that it has no other intentions than to awaken or reawaken in you a great love for Jesus. This is its only purpose,” he added.
‘What would Christ do in my place?’
The Pope urged young Catholics to study the catechism so as to learn more about Jesus and to understand better His message of love and plan for our lives.
He said the secret to maintaining our connection with Jesus is to consider “what Christ would do in my place” at every moment.
“Here is the password for a truly ‘alive’ and joyful life: to look and judge what happens to us and the decisions we are called to make with the same eyes, with the same feelings, with the same posture that Jesus embodied,” he said.
By combining the study of the YOUCAT with frequent prayer, young people can learn to look at the world and daily events with the eyes of Jesus.
Christ, concluded Pope Francis, offers us the true “password” to happiness.
“This youth of life, this newness of life, this fullness of life is what I wish for you, dear young friends.”