Vatican City, 23 June 2013 (VIS) – At noon Sunday, the Holy Father Francis appeared at the window of his study in the Vatican Apostolic Palace to pray the Angelus with the faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square. Before the Marian prayer he recalled Jesus' most incisive words: “whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it.” He then asked: “but what does it mean 'to lose one's life for Jesus' cause'? This can happen in two ways: by explicitly confessing the faith or implicitly defending truth. The martyrs are the best example of losing one's life for Christ. In two thousand years an immense host of men and women have sacrificed their lives to remain faithful to Jesus Christ and his Gospel. And today, in many parts of the world, there are … so many martyrs who give their lives for Christ, who are brought to death for not denying Jesus Christ. This is our Church.”
“Today we have more martyrs than in the first centuries! But there is also the daily martyrdom, which doesn't result in death but is also a 'losing of one's life' for Christ: doing one's duty with love, according to the logic of Jesus, the logic of giving and sacrifice. Think how many fathers and mothers put their faith into practice every day, offering their lives for the good of the family! … How many priests, brothers, and sisters generously carry out their service for the Kingdom of God. How many young people give up their own interests to dedicate themselves to children, the disabled, the elderly... These too are martyrs! Everyday martyrs, martyrs of everyday life! And there are many people, Christians and non-Christians, who 'lose their own life' for the truth. Christ said 'I am the truth', so those who serve the truth serve Christ.”
The Holy Father recalled how St. John the Baptist devoted himself entirely to God and, in the end, died for the truth. “How many people pay dearly for their commitment to the truth! How many righteous men and women prefer to go against the current so as to not deny the voice of their conscience, the voice of truth! Righteous people, who are unafraid of going against the current! And we must not be afraid!”
Before concluding, the Pope addressed the young persons present, telling them: “Don't be afraid to go against the current, when they want to steal our hope, when they propose rotten values to us, values like food that has gone bad—and when food has gone bad it makes us sick, these values make us sick. We have to go against the current! And you, young people, be the first: Go against the grain and be proud of going against the grain. Go on, be brave and go against the current! And be proud of doing it!”
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