In the central idea of my speech: “What young people bring to the Church by being young” I want to refer to what they bring to the “being” of the Church, not to the “doing” of the Church, a dimension to which we are too often tempted to reduce exclusively their contribution to ecclesial life.
Evidently to contribute to the Being of the Church they have to be Church, see and be seen as a Church, not as mere recipients of the Church’s mission, even less as a problem. They are essential functional members of the ecclesial body here and now, not only in the future.
Each member of the body has its own characteristic and function, and all are necessary for the harmonious functioning of the whole, none has all the elements and none is sufficient for himself as St Paul teaches us (1 Cor 12:14). To pretend to demand from someone who has them all and to censure him for those he lacks is to distort reality by falsely misreating it.
Often adults, who are the ones who almost absolutely exercise authority in the Church and in the world, emphasize too insistently the existential fact that young people have no experience, have no history, and we solomonically dictate that this disqualifies them as creative subjects. The fact is true, but it is only a partial truth and of the least important part; because the most important truths are not those that have to do with the past but those that have to do with the future. The past is limited, the future is limitless. The Kingdom of Heaven is in the future, and it is also rigorously true that the spontaneous gaze of young people is directed towards the future.
The greatest treasure of the Church is not her history in which God’s grace and human action, including infidelities and sins are woven, but the saving promise coming from God Love. History gives foundation, solidity, when his memory is used as a fall of the shepherd who guides forward, to the true end and faithfully preserves the promise that gives hope, mobilizes, fertilizes. In the harmonious growth of the ecclesial body, the adult preserves, the young man energizes.
The intuition of St. John Paul II with the World Youth Days, which have re-valued young life before the Church and the world and which still wait to move from one-off events to a style of daily Church action, is present. It is an outstanding subject, a wealth not fully exploited. Let us hope that among others, this will be a contribution of this Synod to the Church and to the world.
Thank you very much for your kind attention.
Taken from: News segment of the COCC WEBSITE