By Deborah Castellano Lubov

Aug 4 2023

“There is no future in a world without God,” Pope Francis warned university students in Portugal while appealing that they make their faith credible through their choices.

The Holy Father’s admonition came during his meeting with the students on the premises of the Universidade Catòlica Portuguesa, on the second day of his Apostolic Journey to Portugal for the occasion of the 37th World Youth Day.

The Pope also encouraged them to embrace their faith and take risks to change the world, promoting human fraternity on all levels.

At the encounter, the Holy Father listened to the testimonies of refugee students, welcomed by the University, and of students involved in the implementation of the Pope’s 2015 encyclical on the environment Laudato si, in the Global Compact on Education, and in the Economy of Francesco initiative.

Make faith credible through choices

“An authentic integral ecology,” the Pope said in his remarks, “is not possible without God,” “there can be no future in a world without God,” and he invited them to give credibility to their faith through the choices they make in life.

“I would say: make your faith credible through your choices.”

“For unless faith gives rise to convincing lifestyles,” the Pope said, it will not be a “leaven” in the world.  It is not enough for us Christians to be convinced he explained, saying “We must also be convincing.” 

Our actions, the Holy Father exhorted, are called to reflect, joyfully and radically, the beauty of the Gospel.  

Furthermore, he stressed, “Christianity cannot be lived as a fortress surrounded by high walls, one that raises the ramparts against the world.”

He thanked a student, Beatriz, for her moving testimony, in which she said it is precisely “within the field of culture” that she feels called to live the Beatitudes.

Make faith credible through choices

“An authentic integral ecology,” the Pope said in his remarks, “is not possible without God,” “there can be no future in a world without God,” and he invited them to give credibility to their faith through the choices they make in life.

“I would say: make your faith credible through your choices.”

“For unless faith gives rise to convincing lifestyles,” the Pope said, it will not be a “leaven” in the world.  It is not enough for us Christians to be convinced he explained, saying “We must also be convincing.” 

Our actions, the Holy Father exhorted, are called to reflect, joyfully and radically, the beauty of the Gospel.  

Furthermore, he stressed, “Christianity cannot be lived as a fortress surrounded by high walls, one that raises the ramparts against the world.”

He thanked a student, Beatriz, for her moving testimony, in which she said it is precisely “within the field of culture” that she feels called to live the Beatitudes.

Dramatic urgency of protecting environment

Pope Francis appealed to the young people to protect the environment.

“We must recognise the dramatic urgency of caring for the common home.”

“Do not forget,” the Pope admonished, “happy mediums are only a small delay in the disaster. Instead, it is a matter of taking on what unfortunately continues to be postponed: the need to redefine what we call progress and evolution.”

“Because, in the name of progress, there has been too much regression. Study well what I am telling you: in the name of progress, too much regress has been made,” he said.

Third World War in pieces

The Holy Father, who had met with Ukrainian young pilgrims prior to the encounter, also pointed to the wars plaguing the world.

“We are seeing a third world war in pieces.”

“But, he said, “we embrace the risk of thinking that we are not in agony, but in childbirth; not at the end, but at the beginning of a great spectacle,” he said. “It takes courage to think this.”

Pope Francis urged the university students to not be paralyzed by fear, and to, rather, transform their fears into dreams. – Vatican News